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Gestational Age

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Gestational age is the time period in which the fetus grows inside the uterus. Measured in weeks, gestational age has implications for the fetus's growth, as well as cognitive and physical development. The gestational age of a fetus is particularly important when determining the potential negative effects of a fetal exposure to toxins or infection and has a direct impact when planning appropriate medical treatment for such situations.

Gestational age is divided into two periods: embryonic and fetal. Preceded by the embryonic period, the fetal period begins at the gestational age of Week 10 and continues until birth. Prenatal development benchmarks are linked to gestational ages. For example, at the gestational age of 7 to 8 weeks, all the vital organs have begun to form along ...

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