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Gestation in the human being 40 weeks or 42 weeks?

(8 Posts)
Upwind Mon 08-Sep-08 19:07:59

I've just read on another thread that in Sweden gestation is 42 weeks and I've been told that it is also 42 weeks in France. I have no idea how long they think that pregnancy lasts elsewhere. Given that we are the same species as women in other parts of Europe, how is such a difference in human gestation possible? Do those countries with a 42 week gestation have much lower induction rates compared to the UK?

I've also read that, on average, first-time-mothers go 8 days over their expected due date. Surely that is an absurdity and 8 days should simply be added to the EDD as a matter of course?

whomovedmychocolate Mon 08-Sep-08 23:14:17

Actually it's 39 weeks in the US, and yes it does vary across the world. Apparently Africa and hotter countries have a shorter gestation but heavier babies. Personally I think it depends on a lot of things, which is why 37-42 weeks is normal here.

Upwind Mon 08-Sep-08 23:26:42

If it is related to the climate rather than genetics, some of us could be in this pregancy forum for the long haul after the Summer we've had grin

Seriously, I find this really interesting. So many people I know have induction horror stories. I want to avoid that while minimising risks & understanding more about gestation can only help.

beautifuldays Mon 08-Sep-08 23:31:54

well 40 weeks from conception would be what we term the 42nd week of pregnancy. very confusing that it differs everywhere

whomovedmychocolate Mon 08-Sep-08 23:35:24

Upwind - I had a DD at 44 weeks and a DS at 38 weeks (the latter was a planned caesarian). At term DD was not showing any signs of budging and I had pre-eclampsia.

Life, and labour, is just like that some times. The best way to avoid induction is to avoid doctors. The placenta does not just fail at 42 weeks and one day. You have options even then but the average for first timers is 41 weeks and 4 days in the UK apparently. So don't expect to hit your deadline if you've set one!

hf128219 Mon 08-Sep-08 23:39:22

I was induced at exactly 41 weeks for 'social reasons'. It was fine.

notcitrus Tue 09-Sep-08 00:48:09

First babies tend to be a bit late, and later ones a bit earlier, too.

I've been advised by midwife to avoid induction if possible, but the hospital doesn't do it until 42 weeks unless there's good reason, so that's reassuring. Although I'm getting to the point of just wanting the baby out already! (39+3)

Upwind Tue 09-Sep-08 19:21:09

Thanks for the replies! I guess I will cross the induction bridge if I get to it. But I still think my EDD should be the EDD+8 grin

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