Counting Pregnancy Weeks: How to Track Your Progress

Numerous pregnant women are familiar with this situation: A positive pregnancy test appears a few days after your period is late, presumably approximately two weeks after ovulation and conception if you have a 28-day cycle. So you've been expecting for two weeks. Your healthcare provider informs you that you are four weeks pregnant when you visit them to confirm your pregnancy. But you did not become pregnant four weeks ago while on your last period, so why the extra two weeks? You would assume counting would be more straightforward than it is. 

If you're confused, you're not alone. The truth about reproducing is that no one can pinpoint the exact moment of conception. Doctors will use a universal standard to estimate the gestational age of each pregnancy by beginning with the LMP (the first day of your last menstrual period).

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How You Can Count Pregnancy Weeks

The first day of your last period plus 280 days equals your EDD (estimated due date), and your pregnancy week numbering starts on the first day of your last period, beginning with Week 0 (not Week 1) and counting up to Week 40 (your due date) and as high as Week 42. One way to look at it is your doctor will consider you one week pregnant, one week after the first day of your last period. 

However, remember that this formula is based on a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, which is merely the average cycle length. Some women have shorter cycles, while others can have longer cycles, which could impact your due date. 

What if you cannot recall the exact first day of your most recent period? If you're not in the habit of tracking your cycle with apps or calendars, don’t sweat it; some doctors can do an ultrasound for you when you're around seven to eight weeks pregnant to obtain an early on measurement of your baby. The embryo has been developing for a shorter period due to the embryo's size. This scan is frequently regarded as the most accurate measurement of your pregnancy weeks, so don't be surprised if, depending on the size of your infant, your provider moves you forward or backward a week.

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Counting Your Pregnancy Weeks With IVF

If you conceived via in vitro fertilization, the weeks of your pregnancy would be calculated slightly differently.

  • Using freshly gathered eggs: Week 2 commences on the day your eggs were gathered. 
  • Using frozen embryos: Week 2 commences on the day of embryo transfer minus the days the embryos were frozen.

Pregnant woman on phone

Pregnancy Week Tracker

Are you having difficulty keeping up? We get it. With everything else going on, you may not have the mental capacity to recall your current week of pregnancy continuously; by the end of the third trimester, each week begins to blend. On the home screen of some pregnancy applications, such as Expectful or your Babylist registry, there is a pregnancy week counter that displays how many weeks pregnant you are or how many days are left. 

The Three Trimesters

Attempting to determine which trimester you are in? No math is involved, but this is not as intuitive as you might believe. Distinguishing trimesters is not as simple as dividing 40 weeks into three equal parts. They are instead divided as follows:

Is Your Due Date Always Accurate?

There is no doubt that your EDD is somewhat accurate, but only about four percent of infants are born on their due date. Therefore, rather than basing the due date on a specific day, it may be more accurate to consider your due week or even month. According to birth data collected by the CDC in 2021, over 10% of infants in the United States were born three or more weeks before their EDD, and nearly 56% were born the week of or the week before their EDD, so there is quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to when your baby might arrive.

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Follow the recommended tests and checkups throughout the pregnancy

Expecting a child can be both thrilling and overwhelming. It is essential to take care of your health and the health of your growing infant during pregnancy by undergoing the recommended tests and checkups. These appointments with your healthcare provider serve to monitor your pregnancy's progress and ensure that any potential complications are detected early. 

Make Sure You Are Eating Well and Getting Enough Rest for Both Mother and Baby

As an expectant mother, you must prioritize your health and your developing child's. This involves consuming a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods to provide your body and your infant with the essential fuel and building blocks they require. Additionally, adequate relaxation is essential for promoting healthy development and preparing the body for childbirth. By prioritizing your health and wellness throughout your pregnancy, you can help ensure a seamless and healthy journey for you and your child.

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Counting Down The Weeks

Hurrah! Adventurers, you've now unlocked the knowledge chest that empowers you to track your tiny treasure's development throughout this wondrous voyage of pregnancy! With each week that sails by, you'll chart the captivating course of their growth, marveling at the magic that unfolds within you.

Becoming familiar with your baby's developmental milestones is like having your very own map guiding you through this exhilarating yet sometimes mystifying journey. Yet, just as a seasoned sailor knows to watch for approaching storms, you too should keep a keen eye out for any red flags that may appear on your horizon. Quick and accurate communication with your trusted physician is vital in ensuring smooth seas ahead.

But ahoy, dear explorers, remember: creating a serene haven—for both yourself and your precious cargo—is paramount in this journey. Regular rendezvous with your doctor, indulging in the tranquillity of rest, feasting on the bounty of nutritious foods, and maintaining a routine exercise regimen form the pillars of your sanctuary.

Yet, amid the rush of preparation, do not forget to anchor yourself each day, basking in the calm waters of relaxation. In this spectacular symphony of life, taking care of yourself isn't just important—it's absolutely crucial! Because, as the tide ebbs and flows, so too does the rhythm of this extraordinary journey, nurturing the life that blossoms within you.

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