How Long Is A Pregnancy (And Why)?

How Long Is A Pregnancy (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 40 Weeks

Pregnancy is a complete-time beginning from the point of formation of embryo till the point a child is birthed out of the mother’s womb. This period lasts up to 40 weeks, and this period is also known as the gestation period.

A woman can have pregnancy either by natural method, that is sexual intercourse, or by artificial reproductive methods. For example, test-tube baby programs, artificial insemination, zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), or many more methods.

The complete phase of the gestation period is divided into three semesters of around 3 months each. The three semesters are known as, first semester, second semester, and third semester based on the development of a child inside the mother’s womb. 

How Long Is A Pregnancy

How Long Is A Pregnancy?

A normal and healthy pregnancy is for around 40 weeks. The time of 40 weeks starts from the day of the last day of a woman’s menstrual cycle and lasts long till the day the child is born.

However, there could be some cases of unhealthy pregnancies or complicated pregnancies. In such situations, the gestation period of pregnancies can either be shortened, which means, the child is born a distinct time before 40 weeks. In such cases, it is termed premature pregnancy. Or, there can be situations when the gestation period can be prolonged.

Generally, there are more cases of premature pregnancies as compared to longer-duration pregnancies. There could be multiple reasons for premature pregnancies. The major reason for that is the poor medical conditions of the mother.

If the mother is not physically fit for pregnancy, then it can affect the child’s health and thus pregnancy also. Thus mothers need to be physically fit. There are many prenatal vitamins, supplements, and medicines that should be taken by pregnant mothers. One can consult a gynecologist for a proper prescription.

Moreover, complications in pregnancies are another major reason behind premature pregnancies. Generally, these complications can be internal bleeding, infections, hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, anemia, thromboembolic disorders, and obstructive labor. These complications can either lead to premature childbirth or even miscarriage and abortion.

Type Of PregnancyTime
Normal pregnancy40 weeks
Premature childbirth30 to 35 weeks
Prolonged pregnancy42 to 44 weeks

Why Is A Pregnancy That Long?

The reason why pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks is that it takes nearly 40 weeks for a child to get developed completely and get ready for birth.

The first week of pregnancy is the last day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The next weeks include fertilization of the egg, formation of the zygote, embedment into the uterine wall, and formation of the embryo. This whole process takes up to 3 weeks.

The first trimester, which is 12 weeks long includes the development of a child’s organs like the heart, liver, sex organ, and other such parts of the body.

The second trimester starts from the first day of week 13 and lasts up to the end of the 27th week. This semester, the muscular and skeletal system of the child is formed. Moreover, the formation of skin begins and by the end of this semester, the physical body of a child is almost completely formed. The bowel movements of the child become activated and the baby starts taking nutrition actively. The mother can feel the kicking of the child, or movements.

The third semester, which starts from the 28th week and lasts up to the day the child is born, which is around the 40th week, is the final stage of pregnancy. By this time, the child becomes completely developed, and movements of the child increase. Fine body hairs, nails, eyebrows, and eyelashes are formed as the final stage of a child’s development. 

All these phases altogether take up to 40 weeks. Thus, the pregnancy or the gestation period lasts for 40 weeks or roughly 9 months.


Pregnancy is a long and roller coaster journey for not just the child but the mother as well. Every mother needs to be physically and mentally ready to undergo the gestation period of 40 weeks.

Moreover, with advancing time, complications in pregnancy cases like premature pregnancies or prolonged pregnancies are increasing. All this does not just affect the child’s health but the mother’s health also.

Thus, mothers need to be fit and ready to have a normal pregnancy of 40 weeks.


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