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A pregnancy is counted in weeks

The period when you are most likely to become pregnant is the middle of the menstrual cycle. A pregnancy is the period from the moment the fertilised egg starts to develop in the womb up to the moment the child is born. A pregnancy lasts for about 9 months or 40 weeks. A pregnancy is counted from the first day of the woman’s last period, in other words about two weeks before actual conception takes place. Birth takes place about 40 weeks after a woman’s last period.

©Berit Roald/Scanpix©Berit Roald/Scanpix

The vast majority of women experience no serious problems during their pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child. On average each woman in Norway gives birth to two children, and around 55,000 children are born each year.


The first sign that a woman may be pregnant is usually the absence of her period. You can buy a home pregnancy test at a chemist’s or you can take a urine sample to your doctor.

A woman who is pregnant will often feel nauseous and unwell during the first three months. She may also feel tired and lack energy. Other symptoms include sore breasts and deeper than normal pigmentation of the nipples. For most women the 4th to the 7th month of pregnancy is the best time. Many women feel full of energy during this period.

The foetus

A pregnant woman will be able to feel the foetus kick from the 4th or 5th month. Women who have given birth before can often feel this even earlier. To start with the foetus’ movements may only be felt a couple of times a week, but after a while they will be felt every day.

In the 7th month the foetus will weigh around 1 kg and be about 35 cm long. The foetus is now fully developed and the baby will usually survive if birth occurs after this time. However, this is much too early to give birth and it is important for the pregnant woman to take good care of herself. She should be careful when it comes to lifting heavy things and over-exerting herself. Her stomach will grow considerably towards the end of the pregnancy. The woman will steadily gain weight. She may be a bit short of breath. This is because the foetus is pushing up against her diaphragm.

The foetus will grow a great deal in the last months of the pregnancy. At the end of the 8th month it will weigh around 3 kg. During the last month before birth the foetus will turn and its head positions in the woman’s pelvis. Everything is being readied for birth. After about 40 weeks the child will be born. The average birth weight of babies in Norway is 3.6 kg.

Ansvarlig for disse sidene J.W. Cappelens Forlag AS. Læremidlet er utviklet med støtte fra Utdanningsdirektoratet. Tilbakemeldinger: