Gestation is the period of time between conception and birth. During this time, the baby grows and develops inside the mother's womb.
Gestational age is the common term used during pregnancy to describe how far along the pregnancy is. It is measured in weeks, from the first day of the woman's last menstrual cycle to the current date. A normal pregnancy can range from 38 to 42 weeks.
Infants born before 37 weeks are considered premature. Infants born after 42 weeks are considered postmature.
Gestational age can be determined before or after birth.
If the baby's gestational age findings after birth match the calendar age, the baby is said to be appropriate for gestational age (AGA). AGA babies have lower rates of problems and death than babies that are small or large for their gestational age.
The weight for full-term infants that are born AGA will most often be between 2,500 grams (about 5.5 lbs or 2.5 kg) and 4,000 grams (about 8.75 lbs or 4 kg).
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.