What is Gestational Age?

The age of the fetus or the embryo is called the gestational age. It is calculated by counting from the first day of the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). It can also be calculated from 14 days before the fertilization or conception. It is counted from the first day of LMP and involves the assumption that conception has taken place 14 days later.

Often, a woman will not know the exact date of conception but will have a good idea of the LMP which will be the fourteenth day before conception is considered to have taken place. The LMP method is the most convenient method used for calculating gestational age. There are many other methods that have been used or proposed in the past.

In some countries, the age of the embryo is calculated from the date of fertilization, instead of calculating from LMP. This method is also called the embryonic age, conceptional age, intrauterine developmental age or fertilization age. The LMP method of calculating will be two weeks longer because in this case pregnancy begins from the time of implantation, which takes place two to three weeks after the LMP.

How is it Calculated Accurately?

Calculations made from the LMP method are incorrect sometimes, due to variations in the ovulation date. The age of the embryo can be really only be calculated accurately from the following:

  • An ultrasound during the pregnancy, where the size of fetal parts are measured.
  • Examination of the newborn infant. During the 20th century, doctors were trained to check the physical changes occurring in the fetal body during the later half of the pregnancy in order to estimate the age of the baby before birth.
  • The mother’s knowledge of fertility signs, which were related to ovulation. These observations are made by mothers who adopted fertility awareness methods.
  • The mother’s knowledge of the date of sexual intercourse.

During pregnancy, your doctor will check whether the abdomen, thigh bone and size of the head correspond to statistics concerning gestational age. This is carried out with the help of an ultrasound and is an important tool in determining the age of the fetus.

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