Why You Should Ignore Your Due Date

After the confirmation of pregnancy, the next thing every woman wants to know is: When is my baby due?

Ah, the elusive due date; the magical moment when Baby is supposed to predictably appear, right? Not so! According to Evidence-Based Birth:

“Based on best evidence, there is no such thing as an exact ‘due date,’ and the estimated due date of 40 weeks is not accurate.”

It helps to have an idea when you should expect to have your baby, but it would be more accurate to focus on a “due month” or a range of time rather than on an Estimated Due Date (EDD).

Many factors can cause your actual delivery date to bump on either side  of your EDD. Focusing on this date will most likely lead to disappointment.

9 months or 40 weeks?

Pregnancy is usually calculated as 40 weeks. In reality, only 5% of babies stay in the womb for 40 weeks. Medically, a full-term pregnancy is anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks. To complicate things a little further, the 40 weeks are not calculated from the day or night of conception but from the first day of your last period.

Usually, doctors will induce you if you’re more than 42 weeks pregnant. That’s when health risks go up for both you and Baby. However, before then it’s worth waiting until you go into natural labor. The March of Dimes, a non-profit dedicated to preventing premature and still births, works closely with hospitals to prevent unneeded inductions. Their message:

“Pregnancy is uncomfortable and at times, downright miserable, but you need to stick it out, and your doctor needs to refuse your induction unless it’s medically necessary.” // The Stir

Save your sanity and endless phone calls from relatives by banishing the thought of your due date from your mind. Countdown the weeks so you can ensure you receive proper care during your pregnancy but don’t fixate on your due date.

How many babies are actually born on their due date?

Only 1 in 20 babies are actually born on their EDD. Most are born within two weeks either way of your estimated date. The estimated due date sometimes works for women who have a regular menstrual cycle. For women who don’t have a regular cycle, it will probably likely be wrong.

Is there another way calculate my EDD more accurately?

Doctors use various ways to determine your EDD:

  • Uterus size-this will be noted during your initial pregnancy exam.
  • Ultrasound-all women get an initial ultrasound. This is usually done as a matter of routine to ensure your baby has no deformities.
  • Pregnancy milestones such as heartbeat, which is first heard between 9 weeks to 12 weeks, and fetal movement at about 16 weeks to 22 weeks helps you figure out whether your EDD is accurate.
  • Fundal height-during each doctors visit, they will measure your fundal height or the top of your uterus . It should reach your naval at about 20 weeks pregnant which confirms your EDD.
Does a due date change?

This is no cause for concern but your doctor can change your EDD as your pregnancy progresses. As noted above, determining the due date is far from an accurate science.



Featured image source: www.health-foundations.com

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