Pregnancy Due Date
Now that you know that you are pregnant, you are probably eagerly awaiting your due date! Nine months may seem like a long way away, but, actually, it's just around the corner and will come much faster than you think. Your health care provider may have already given you your due date or perhaps you are trying to figure it out for yourself. But how do you go about calculating when baby will arrive? And is this date accurate? Well, you can stop counting on your fingers and toes, because this article will teach you the secrets behind calculating your pregnancy due date!
What is a Pregnancy Due Date?
Your pregnancy due date is a specific date given to you by your health care provider that tells you when your baby is most likely to arrive. It may seem like a magical calculation, but it is actually based on a variety of specific dates and information, including the date of your last period and average gestation time. It can be calculated in many different ways, from using a plain old pregnancy calendar to fancy electronics and software. Unfortunately, pregnancy due dates are typically inaccurate. Most women deliver sometime during the two weeks before or after their actual due dates.
How is a Due Date Calculated?
Pregnancy due dates are typically calculated using the Last Menstrual Period (LMP) method. This method uses the date of your last menstrual period in order to find out when you are most likely to deliver. Many health care providers, including obstetricians and midwives, use the LMP method to calculate due dates.
The LMP method is based on the idea that ovulation typically occurs 14 days after menstruation and that the average baby stays in the uterus for about 266 days. Your health care provider will ask you for the date of the first day of your last menstrual period. 14 days will then be added on to this date in order to find the date of ovulation and conception. 266 days will then be added to this date, in order to calculate your expected pregnancy due date.
Some health care practitioners follow a calculation called Naegle's Rule when determining due date. This is a fast and simple way to determine when you are due, and it is also based on the date of your last period and typical gestation time. Naegle's Rule requires that you find the date of the first day of your last menstrual period. Count three months back from this date and add seven days. This will give you the date on which your baby will be due.
Other Methods of Calculating the Due Date
There are other methods that can also be used to calculate due dates.
Basal Body Temperature and Luteinizing Hormone: If you have been measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) and luteinizing hormone (LH), you may be able to calculate your due date fairly correctly. Women who are actively trying to get pregnant often track their BBT and LH in order to determine their exact date of ovulation. A rise in BBT and a surge in LH can help to indicate precisely when you are ovulating. If you take this date of ovulation and add 266 days, you will be able to calculate your due date quite accurately.
Conception Date: If you know the exact date on which you conceived, calculating your due date is a fairly simple procedure. Simply add 266 days to this date.
Ultrasound: Throughout your pregnancy, you will receive a number of different pregnancy tests. An ultrasound test uses sound waves to create a picture of your baby. During the first trimester, your health care provider can use the ultrasound to help determine the age of your baby and, therefore, her expected due date.
Are Pregnancy Due Dates Exact? Unfortunately, pregnancy due dates are very rarely accurate. They can give you a good idea of when baby will arrive, but it rarely pinpoints the exact date. In fact, fewer than 5% of women actually give birth on their due date.
Due dates are rarely exact because due date calculations are based on averages. Calculations assume that the average baby stays in the uterus for 40 weeks. However, pregnancies often last anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks. Typically, about 80% of babies are born within ten days of their due date. However, 10% of women deliver before 38 weeks, and 8% of women actually deliver after 42 weeks.
Due date calculations can also be inaccurate because they assume that ovulation and conception occur exactly 14 days after the first day of your last menstrual period. Because every woman is different, every menstrual cycle is different, and ovulation can occur at different times. By keeping track of your ovulation, you can increase the accuracy of your due date calculation.
Due Date Calculators
Due date calculators can take much of the frustration and worry out of calculating your due date. These calculators simply require the last date of your menstrual period. From this information, the calculator will come up with your expected due date. So, if you are eager to find out when baby is due, try our a pregnancy due date calculator.