Gestation vs Pregnancy: Difference and Comparison

In humans, the reproduction process is sexual. It involves the union of the sperm and the ovum. This process is called fertilization, and the formation of a zygote takes place.

Gestation is the time frame from conception, fertilization, and the birth of the child. Pregnancy is the series of changes the woman witness during the gestation period.

There can be more than one gestation during the pregnancy, resulting in twins.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gestation is when a fetus develops inside the womb, while pregnancy is the condition of having a developing fetus in the womb.
  2. Gestation is measured in weeks or days, while pregnancy is measured from the first day of the last menstrual period.
  3. Gestation can differ among species, while pregnancy is a universal mammal concept.

Gestation vs Pregnancy

Gestation refers specifically to the period during which an embryo develops in the uterus of a mammal, from conception until birth. Pregnancy encompasses the entire process of fertilization, implantation, development of the embryo and fetus, and culminating in childbirth in humans.

Gestation vs Pregnancy
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The term gestation comes from the Latin word gestare, meaning to carry or to bear. Gestation is the period of development from conception, fertilization, and growth of the baby.

There could be multiple gestations resulting in multiple births. The average length of the gestation period begins from the first day of the last pregnancy. It lasts for 40 weeks or 280 days.

Pregnancy is the time frame when the fetus develops in the mother’s womb. Pregnancy occurs due to sexual intercourse. At times it could occur due to a reproductive procedure.

Pregnancy includes all the changes in the woman and the take she needs to take off the baby and herself for safe delivery.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGestationPregnancy
MeaningCarrying Fetus in the womb.The changes that take place in a woman.
PossibilityThere can be multiple.Only one at a time.
Time FrameFrom conception to birth.From fertility to birth.
DivisionIt is counted from the first day of the last menstrual date.It is divided into three trimesters.
DevelopmentIt develops in three phases.Women develop issues due to hormonal changes.

What is gestation?

Gestation is the period between conception and birth. It is the length of pregnancy which is between 38 to 42 weeks. Babies born before 37 weeks are pre-mature, and after 42 weeks are post-mature.

The accurate date of conception is unknown due to the complexities. So gestational age is assessed based on the last menstrual period. 

Fetal development occurs in three stages during the gestation period, the ovular period, the embryonic period, and the fetal period. The ovular and embryonic stage is for ten weeks.

The ovulation period takes place within 11-21 days of the first day of the last period. 

If the conception is fruitful, the sperm permeates the egg, forming the single unit of 46 chromosomes called the zygote. A zygote is the simplest form of a human being. 

The embryonic development occurs in the following stages:

  • 3rd week- Develops the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract.
  • 4-5 week-Arm, and legs are visible
  • 6th week-Lung, jaws, nose, and palate forms
  • 7th week-Essential organs are getting developed, eyelids and tongue formation begins
  • 8th week-The external features are evident in the ting body
  • 10th week- This is considered the last stage of the embryonic period.

Within 13 weeks, the fetus is fully developed and weighs over an ounce. The genitalia gets formed, and the head is nearly half the size of the body. From 13th to the 40th, the fetus fully develops into a baby till the delivery period.

This cyclic development of a fetus in the womb is gestation.

What is pregnancy?

Pregnancy is when the woman carries a fertilized egg in the womb and gives birth to the baby. The pregnancy period can be broadly divided into three trimesters, lasting for three months each.

The pregnancy gets determined by the urine pregnancy test. The average pregnancy lasts for forty weeks.

Symptoms of pregnancy:

  • Missing period-This is the earliest symptom of pregnancy if trying to be pregnant.
  • Headache and Vomiting-The change in hormone level cause headache.
  • Spotting-Minor bleeding during the initial stages could be due to infection or irritation. If it persists, you need to consult the doctor.
  • Constipation-Pregnancy slows down the digestive system, which may lead to constipation.
  • Backpain-Hormonal changes and stress induce back pain. The increased weight adds pressure on the back muscle. 
  • Anaemia-Anaemia causes dizziness and lightheadedness. If the condition persists, it leads to early delivery or low birth weight of the baby. Constant monitoring of anaemia is essential during pregnancy.
  • Breast change-Changes in the breast are the first sign during pregnancy. The breast becomes tender, swollen, and heavy. The nipples become sensitive and bulky.
  • Stress and pregnancy-Pregnancy is the time to enjoy, but hormonal changes, issues in relationships, and financial overheads might cause stress. Consulting the doctor is the best option while going through these issues.

Pregnancy gets divided into three trimesters based on the development of the fetus. It is a beautiful milestone to enjoy for both the mother and the baby.

  • First, trimester-The first 12 weeks are the first trimester. The major organs of the fetus develop in this trimester. The baby’s heart begins to beat. It is a crucial time for both the mother and the baby 85% of miscarriage occurs in this trimester.
  • Second trimester- An ultrasound test to check for any developmental abnormalities and to know the sex gets conducted. You feel the movement of the baby as it kicks and punches in the uterus. After 23 weeks, a baby ‘in utero’ means ‘viable. The baby survives outside the womb. 
  • Third trimester- This is weeks 28-40 and the last trimester. The mother gains weight, and the baby can sense light. It opens and closes the eyes, and the bones get formed. There could be swelling in the feet due to excessive stress on the feet. The labour approaches as you feel contractions.

Every woman will have a different experience during the pregnancy. Help from family and timely consultations from the doctor ensures the journey is safe for the mother and the child.

pregnancy

Main Differences between Gestation and Pregnancy

  1. Gestation is the time frame of carrying the fetus in the womb. Pregnancy is the change that takes place in a woman’s body.
  2. There is a possibility of multiple gestations, which result in twins. At most, a single pregnancy is possible at a time.
  3. Gestation is a timeframe from conception to birth. Pregnancy is the process that begins with fertilization.
  4. Gestation age gets counted from the first day of the last menstrual period. Pregnancy gets divided into three trimesters of three months each.
  5. In gestation, the fetus develops in three stages. During the pregnancy, the woman gains weight and develops symptoms like vomiting and headaches due to hormonal changes.
Difference Between Gestation and Pregnancy
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00404-020-05689-x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899328997900067

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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