The Due Date Dilemma

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“When is your baby due?”

“Wow! Looks like you’re having a baby any day!”

“I bet you’re going to be late!”

I think it is a fair assumption that most pregnant mamas have heard a variation of those statements. It seems you can’t go far with a baby bump without someone questioning your little bundle’s impending arrival. Responses can range from snarky, “I’m not even pregnant!” to frank, “February 10th”, to allusive, “Sometime this coming spring” and everywhere in between.

To confidently and accurately answer pesky due date questions, it’s important to understand the facts and figures behind due dates. First of all, due dates are truly only a guess date. That’s why doctors and midwives use the acronym EDD – estimated due date. It’s not exact; no one knows the date your baby will be born. Your due date can be calculated based on your LMP (last menstrual period) or conception date (if you’ve been tracking your cycle), but that still only gives a 3-5 week window of your little one’s arrival since most babies can safely arrive anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks gestation.

Second, based on what number pregnancy you’re experiencing, you are statistically likely to go beyond the quoted 40 weeks according to popular birth coursework like Hypnobabies and The Bradley Method. For first time moms, expect at least 41 weeks, 1 day gestation; for second time moms, expect around 40 weeks, 3 days. Of course, specific details of your current and past pregnancies can also be crucial elements in better determining your guess date, so take that into account as well.

Last, but not least, as you approach your due date, keep in mind that it is often times much easier to care for your baby while they are inside of you. Right now, you only have to take care of you – your body naturally takes care of your baby. Before you know it, you’ll be juggling feeding yourself AND a baby, sleeping AND wooing your little one to sleep, keeping yourself showered AND your baby from smelling like spilled milk. I know this from experience so don’t feel pressured by your due date to move from peaceful (albeit sometimes uncomfortable) pregnancy to the adventure of postpartum.

Overall, my preference in answering due date questions is to share a month, “Sometime in December” or to choose a particular holiday and say, “Around Christmas”. That allows me (and my baby) to begin our birthing time when we are ready rather than being tied to a specific date.

What is your preference when answering family, friends, and strangers questions about your baby’s due date?

Also, if you’re interested in additional reading about due dates, I found these resources quite interesting!