Your pregnancy due date is simply the approximate day that your baby will be born. So it’s basically your baby’s birthday, and the day that you become parents if this is your first child. When you visit a doctor to confirm your pregnancy, she will be able to tell you after a few tests and questions exactly when your baby is due.
Tell people you are pregnant and one of the first things they want to know is how far along you are and when the baby is due. If you don’t know, they’ll sit right down with you, ask probing questions and calculate until they’ve figured it out. Avoid the embarrassing discussion about your periods and sex life by finding out your pregnancy due date on your own.
How is pregnancy due date calculated?
Calculating a pregnancy due date is a mathematical formula for averages. The date of your last period is calculated against the average gestation time for humans and the result is an approximate date of your baby’s arrival.
While the date of the last period is an individual piece of data to which only you are privy, the average gestation time is about 266 days or 42 weeks or 9 months, give or take a few days/weeks/months. Since the latter data is variable, and since you may not be too sure of the date of your last period either, the pregnancy due date will not be precise.
How to calculate pregnancy due date?
Although there are several methods of calculating the pregnancy due date, the most common one is LMP or last menstrual period method. The LMP method is based on the presumption that conception will occur around 14 days after menstruation i.e. when a woman ovulates.
So recall accurately the first day of your last period. This will be considered the first day of the last menstrual cycle that you had before you got pregnant. Now add 14 to this date, and the result is the date you last ovulated, and thus the date during which conception most likely occurred. Now simply count 266 days from this date to get your pregnancy due date.
The second way of calculating your pregnancy due date is by adapting Naegele’s rule. Naegele was a doctor somewhere in the mid-19th century who determined that human gestation lasts for approximately 266 days. He thus implemented the following formula to calculate the due date of any given pregnancy:
LMP – 3 months + 7 days = pregnancy due date (in which LMP stands for last menstrual period)
So count back three months from the date of your last period, then count forward seven days, and you have your approximate due date.
Is this is too complicated or frustrating for you? Simply do an online search for a pregnancy due date calendar. You’ll find hundreds of options. And you can try just one or all of them. The online pregnancy due date calendar will ask for the date of your last period. Once you input the information and hit enter or click on ‘calculate’, the online software will do all the counting for you and generate your pregnancy due date.
A pregnancy due date calendar is a very interesting tool as it informs you, depending on the individual calculator, when your baby was conceived, when you got pregnant, when you’ll be entering each of your trimesters, what you should expect, and finally, when you’ll be due.
Can a pregnancy due date be wrong?
Keep in mind though that the pregnancy due date that you have been given is only approximate. Calculating the pregnancy due date is not an exact science. The due date is determined keeping in mind the average gestation time of all pregnancies. But every woman is different, so every woman’s body works differently. The pregnancy due date that you calculate should only act as a guideline. You may have the baby earlier or later than the due date.
Since the due date is calculated by taking into account the date of your last period, the result may be inaccurate if you do not clearly recall the date of your last period. Sometimes, what is considered as the last period is actually implantation bleeding, in which case the pregnancy had already occurred at that point and your due date will be off by a couple of weeks.
So yes, your pregnancy due date can be wrong. Because it is impossible to be 100% certain to begin with. In fact, 95% of women will not give birth on the exact pregnancy due date that they calculated.
If you are past your due date and are starting to worry, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be keeping tabs on you anyway and will know if something is amiss. Usually, if you have not yet completed 42 weeks of pregnancy, a doctor will advise you to wait even if it is past your due date.
Why is pregnancy due date important?
Knowing your due date gives you a deadline before which you have to get things ready for the baby whether it is buying clothes, doing up the nursery, taking Lamaze classes, taking time off work for maternity or paternity leave, going over to your mother’s to have the baby, or taking one last big holiday before you are tied down with the baby. There are hundreds of plans you have to make and a million things you have to do before the baby comes into your life. When you are aware of your pregnancy due date, it makes planning a lot easier as it gives you a timeline to work with. If you didn’t know your pregnancy due date, you wouldn’t know when the baby was due and you’d be pretty surprised when the contractions started.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to know when their baby is coming? Most couple today have to try for awhile before they get pregnant. Some people have dreamed their whole lives of becoming parents. When the dream is finally coming true, you want to know when the magic is going to happen.
For some women, having a baby can be mentally challenging. The thought of becoming a mother and being responsible for a life can be overwhelming. It can be a terrifying experience for both parents. Having an idea about the pregnancy due date can give parents time to mentally prepare themselves. The can undergo counselling, read up on parenting, and assure each other that they will deal with the coming baby together.
When you have a pregnancy due date, you have a timeline for which week you are in at any given point. By looking at a pregnancy calendar, you can ascertain whether or not your pregnancy is going normally.
Remember that a pregnancy due date is but an estimate of your baby’s arrival. Doctors and researchers agree that your baby can be born a couple of weeks before or after the due date. Just remember to take it easy during your pregnancy and let the baby come in its own time.