Gestational Age

■ Preterm

< 37 wks (<259th day)

■ Term

37-42 wks

■ Postterm

> 42 wks (>294th day)

Gestational age is based on specific neuromuscular signs and physical characteristics that change with gestational maturity. Several scores have been developed to estimate gestational age using these characteristics.

The Ballard scoring system estimates gestational age to within 2 weeks, even in extremely premature infants. Table 17-1 (p. 737) includes a complete Ballard scoring system, with instructions for assessing neuromuscular and physical maturity.

A useful classification includes both birth weight and gestational age components, and is based on the birth weight of the newborn on the intrauterine growth curve.




Small for gestational age

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