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The data on here is exact, as it is a composite from multiple sources.
I have found multiple references that state that about 6% of babies are pre-term, and that 4-14% of babies would be born after 42 weeks (Odutayo, and others), if it were not for interventions, so the far ends of the scale relate to this data.
(Mittendorf) Other studies indicate that for multiple births, each additional baby in the uterus shortens the pregnancy by 4 weeks on average.
By standard definitions, 38-42 weeks LMP is normal, before 37 weeks is considered premature and after 42 weeks is considered a post-date pregnancy.
Errors in estimates of fetal age can lead to further errors, including iatrogenic prematurity, and unnecessary inductions.
Despite protocols that have been developed to reduce these errors, some persist, as even physicians can be overly literal in their beliefs about the baby’s due date. Records of gestational age at birth are used to help determine rates of pre-term births, and to help evaluate the effectiveness of prenatal care.
He states if there is this wide of range, then clearly it is normal for some babies to take 38 or fewer weeks to develop to full-term development, when others may take more than 42 weeks to reach maturity.
Galimberti states that 3.5% of labors start spontaneously at 37 weeks, 9.5% at 38 weeks, and 18.5% at week 39.
Klimek has an evenly distributed Gauss curve, or bell curve, but does not substantiate it with empirical data.
He compares this to the range at which human beings reach puberty, and points out that no one sets a “required” age for puberty, or takes medical steps to induce puberty in ‘late-bloomers.’ Certainly in practice, there are examples which would support this theory.
After the baby is born, it is possible to develop Clinical Estimates of Fetal Age.By the time they are past 40 weeks, they are ready for induction, despite knowledge of the risks and side effects of induction. There are several cases in which medical management of a pregnancy is based on a knowledge of the specific gestational age of the fetus.These include: interpretation of pre-natal test results, determination of the best date for a planned cesarean section, decisions about inducing a ‘post-date’ pregnancy.This is also defined as 280 days, or 40 weeks, from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, a definition which assumes that the mother ovulates on day 14 of a 28 day menstrual cycle. In the 1980’s, Mittendorf noticed that birth dates for women in his practice, primarily second-generation Irish-Americans, averaged seven days past their “due dates”.