Are women in Japan pregnant for 10 months?


This may be the most googled question on the topic of pregnancy and Japan.

In fact, the answer is `yes` but it isn`t quite as strange as it sounds, in fact, it may possibly be more logical than the system in some other countries.

I use the word `system` because it is only way that the pregnancy is counted, not the actual length of the pregnancy that differs.

In Japan, (as in other countries), a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (counted from the first day of the last period before conception). However Japan uses a lunar calendar rather than a wall-calendar to count the weeks/months.

Simply, According to the Gregorian calendar, where months range from 28-31 days, the average pregnancy lasts a little over nine months.

On the other hand, if you’re counting the more traditional lunar months of exactly 28 days (i.e. 4 weeks), then 40 weeks = 10 months. The Japanese belief that a pregnancy lasts ten months refers back to their original calendar that used these shorter months.

I have a nifty little `pregnancy calendar` on my Ipod which I downloaded for free, called 妊婦カレンダー which counts the days, weeks and months for me. I like the Japanese system, because I now know that every Tuesday, I am one more week along than the previous Tuesday; and every 4 Tuesdays, I can add another month to the pregnancy. So simple!



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