Last Updated on June 16, 2020
What is the pregnancy wheel? Ultimately, it’s the go-to guide for all the information on your pregnancy and baby’s development.
The pregnancy wheel also referred to as the gestation calendar, gives you an effective means of staying on track of major milestones throughout your pregnancy. This includes your baby’s growth and development, when to get screenings done and the expected due date.
Gynecologists and health care professionals often use the pregnancy wheel and the date of your last menstrual period to determine when your estimated due date will be. Altogether, this is a great tool to prepare and guide you through your pregnancy.
What Is The Pregnancy Wheel?
A tool commonly used by OBGYNs, the pregnancy wheel is an in-depth calendar that provides information on almost everything you need to know during your pregnancy.
This wheel or gestation calendar uses the first day of your last menstrual cycle, to determine your due date. A common misconception is that your due date is estimated from when conception occurs when in reality the estimation starts two weeks before at the beginning of your menstrual cycle.
A pregnancy wheel is also a great tool for helping keep track of your fertility. The wheel tells you when your ovulation days start and end during your cycle, giving you the best possible chance of becoming pregnant.
Since all wheels vary, the due date and information you find using different pregnancy wheels may have some inconsistencies, but overall they tend to cover the necessary information.
Most wheels are only accurate if you know the exact first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), and if you have a regular 28-day menstrual cycle. Your Obstetrician or Gynaecologist may also change the expected due date based on the results from your first ultrasound, usually occurring at seven weeks. This test is more accurate than using your LMP, therefore providing a better point for estimating your due date.
The main objective of the pregnancy wheel is to determine your baby’s due date, although keep in mind this is just an estimate and not completely accurate. In addition, the pregnancy wheel will also provide you with important information relating to your baby’s development, including their size and also when to schedule certain screening tests.
It is not, however, a diagnosis tool. The pregnancy wheel is not to be used in any way for the diagnosis of illness or complaints during pregnancy such as diastasis recti. A healthcare professional should always be the first stop for advice.
How To Use A Pregnancy Wheel
Before you use the pregnancy wheel, you need to know the first day of your last menstrual cycle, this is important for accurate results.
Once you have figured out the first day of your last period, position the inner wheel so the arrow labeled ‘First Day of Last Period’ matches up with the date you have determined.
If you have a pregnancy wheel where you can select your average cycle length, find the little arrows with each cycle length (located on both sides of the 1st Day of Last Period arrow).
Move the little arrow, with the length of your menstrual cycle, to the date you determined to be your starting point in step one. This particular option is great for women with irregular periods that don’t fit the standard 28-day cycle.
After you have determined the first day of your last period and have selected your average cycle length, the other arrow (in blue), representing your estimated due date, should be around 9 months and 7 days from the first day of your period.
Now you’re all set to keep track of your pregnancy and baby’s growth!
There are two main parts to the pregnancy wheel- the inner and outer circle. The outer part of the wheel tells you the months and days of the year while the inner circle tells you the duration of your pregnancy in weeks.
On the other hand, using the inner circle, you can also find the different pregnancy milestones plus your baby’s length and weight, as well as when certain screening tests are recommended. It also a great way to find an estimation of when you will be ovulating, therefore, helping you determine the best time to conceive.
What Does The Pregnancy Wheel Tell You?
The pregnancy wheel provides all kinds of vital information regarding your pregnancy and baby’s development. The main purpose is to determine your expected due date. However, many modern pregnancy wheels can also provide other useful information, this commonly include the following:
Fertility – The wheel can tell you when you are most fertile by breaking down your menstrual cycle into the parts, giving you an estimation of your ovulation days and providing you with an ideal conception date.
Certain wheels will also tell you when the egg may implant onto the uterus wall. Also relating to your menstrual cycle, pregnancy wheels tell you when you can first expect a missed period if the egg ends up fertilized, usually between the fourth and fifth week.
Typically, a couple of days after ovulation is considered the best time to conceive, therefore, if you are trying to get pregnant, the wheel can provide you with an estimation of your most fertile phases.
Development – Regarding your baby’s development, the wheel provides a guide to the baby’s growth, including both their length and their weight in grams. Bear in mind, that these metrics aren’t 100% accurate, but they are certainly helpful in terms of providing an approximation.
Screenings – Some wheels also tell you when to schedule specific tests and procedures, like the ultrasound at seven weeks where you can expect to hear a fetal heartbeat.
Some wheels also provide you with reminders for glucose screening, a cervical length measurement if needed, ultrasounds, amniocentesis and even when you can expect your baby to start moving. Pregnancy wheels also show you when a new trimester starts, going all the way to post-term.
The Best Wheel to Use
There are many great pregnancy wheels out there and many are available online and free to use. They allow you to keep on track with your pregnancy progress, allowing you to determine the size of your baby and a variety of other metrics that help you track the progress of your pregnancy and babies development.
In our view, this pregnancy wheel is ideal and is perfect for women with irregular cycles, allowing you to customize your cycle length anywhere from 34 to 22 days. It also provides more accurate results for those who do not fit the regular 28-day cycle.
Besides working for multiple cycle lengths, this wheel has a lot of details regarding expected testing and milestone developments. Making it even better than many – the milestones are listed chronologically below the pregnancy wheel, along with when these events are expected to occur. This makes it easier for those who have difficulty reading the small print, which is common in many pregnancy wheel designs.
For people who want to have one to carry with them in their purse or diaper bags, you can purchase a pregnancy wheel that’s almost identical from most online stores.