When a woman communicates to others that she is pregnant, one of the frequently asked questions is the one that refers to the time you have been in gestation. Gestational age is key when answering this question. Gestational age indicates how long a pregnant woman has been, which is usually known thanks to the time that elapses from the first day she had her last menstruation until the current time of pregnancy itself.
Gestational age usually lasts about 40 weeks from the date of the last rule. Thanks to gestational age, professionals can come to know an approximate date on which the woman will give birth to the baby.
How to calculate gestational age in pregnancy
Gestational age is always calculated in weeks and there are a number of rules when determining the gestation period of a pregnant woman:
- The first rule is that of Naegele and consists of adding one week to the first day of the last rule and subtracting three months.
- Wahl’s rule is to add ten days to the first day from the last rule and subtract three months.
- The last rule is Pinard’sand consists of adding ten days at the end of menstruation and then subtracting three months.
It may happen that the woman does not know the date on which she had the last rule. In these cases, gestational age is calculated using different ultrasound scans of the baby and taking a series of measures such as the perimeter of the skull, abdomen or the length of the femur.
What is used to calculate gestational age
There are two tools used when calculating gestational age:
- The gestogram is the most used by professionals and bases its estimates on Naegele’s rule. It is a rotating disc that marks the week of pregnancy in which the pregnant woman is found.
- Obstetric tape is used to measure uterine height in pregnancy. With this tape it is possible to calculate the week of gestation in which a woman who is pregnant is located.
Is it important to know gestational age?
There are many women who wonder if it is really important to know gestational age or whether, on the contrary, nothing happens for not knowing it.
Gestational age is important because thanks to it, the pregnant woman can know at all times how the whole gestation process is developing and whether the baby is within the parameters of normal or if the contrary something is not going well.
It should be remembered that a pregnancy considered normal, can last from 38 to 42 weeks. In the event that the baby is born before week 37, it is usually considered premature. If on the contrary the baby takes a little longer to be born and does so after the 42nd week, it is considered as postmature. Hence the importance of knowing the gestational age of the mother.
Gynecologists consider it essential because thanks to knowing it, they can advance childbirth if they see it timely and avoid future problems when giving birth to the child. They can also wait to the maximum, after week 42 to provoke childbirth.
In short, knowing gestational age in a pregnancy is much more important than it may seem initially. If the pregnancy is going well and within normal, there is no problem. However, there are cases where pregnancy can become complicated and thanks to gestational age, professionals can make the best possible decision for the baby to reach this world in the best possible way. If you become pregnant, you should always keep in mind the date you had the last rule in mind.