When is your "actual" due date?
"When is your ACTUAL due date?" I'm currently pregnant with our second child and this was a question I was asked recently by a relative. So what's the answer?
What is a Due Date?
This date is an ESTIMATED date that your baby will arrive. You'll go for your first midwife appointment and they'll ask for the first date of your last period. They'll then calculate a due date.
The problem with this - it presumes every single woman has the same length cycle. That is impossible, we're all different. This calculation was also based on the findings of a doctor that said we should plus 7 days to the last period and then add 9 months. However, he never said it was from the first day or the last day of the period. We might all be told a date that's 7 days early!
We're then told we'll get a more "accurate" Due Date at the 12 week scan. This is based on the measurements of the baby.
The problem with this - it presumes all babies are growing at the same rate. As humans, we all develop differently so our babies will all be different too. We also know that measurements from scans can be 20% off so how accurate can they be in GUESSING your due date?
So when is my baby due?
The NHS states that the "normal" gestational period for a baby is 37-42 weeks. So in reality this means 5 whole weeks of due dates.
However, this figure changes depending on where you live. For example, the normal gestational period for a baby in France is 43 weeks!
What are the facts?
For those statistic lovers out there, here are the stats from the UK Office of National Statistics:
Babies born in 2016
37-38 weeks - 8.34%
38-39 weeks - 15.16%
39-40 weeks - 27.45%
40-41 weeks - 28.28%
41-42 weeks - 17.99%
42 weeks plus - 2.77%
As you can see, the majority of babies are born between 40-41 weeks.
How is your Due Date chosen?
Well this is a head scratcher. We don't really know why babies are born when they are. The general feeling is that the baby chooses it's Due Date. After all, only the baby really knows what's going on in there.
So when is my "actual" due date?
Oh my relative really should have known better than to ask a Hypnobirthing Teacher this question.
Hypnobirthing parents want to be calm and relaxed. One way to do this is to be a bit cagey about the due date. I for one do not want to be bombarded with questions like "have you not had that baby yet?" (you can ask but be prepared for my sarcastic answer of "yes, I had a baby, one of my proudest moments but I decided not to tell you"), "haven't you been pregnant forever?" or "have you tried this or that to get labour started?".
So for now, my husband and I will continue to answer the question with "Spring 2019" or, if you're lucky, "March". I'm happy to trust my body and know that our baby will be here when he's ready.
Until then, only one thing is certain. This baby will be born on his birthday.
If you'd like to start your journey to a positive birth experience, why not book one of our classes? Contact TrueWay Hypnobirthing today for more information via email@example.com or text/call 07966 483 931.