’s gestational age
is the number of weeks that have passed since conception
to the present. It may be used to describe a fetus
, still in the womb or a newborn
or full term
. The gestational age of a full term infant is 40 weeks, +/- 2 weeks in either direction.
Gestational age is determined by the woman’s recalled dates of her last menstrual period as well as by tests and assessments. Some teasts are done prenatally, such as ultrasound sonograph
s, serial measurement
s of symphysis-fundus height. Others are done after birth, such as, weight
, head circumference
, condition of the skin, hair, reflex
es, muscle tone
, posture, and vital signs.
An infant’s gestational age at birth determines its abilities to carry on life outside the uterous without technological support. The newborn with a lower gestational age may need respiratory, nutritional, temperature and hormonal support to take the place of a normal length pregnancy. This is a premature infant
. Knowledge of the gestational age of an infant allows health care providers to accurately predict and prepare for the care the infant will need. It is also a factor in the determination of the date to do “safe
” “social deliveries