When you become pregnant, one of the first things that you find out is your baby’s due date. Of course, everybody that you know (and many people that you don’t) wants to know this information as well. For some reason, people are fascinated with due dates. I can understand the fascination is if is your baby, or the baby of a close friend or family member. After all, having a baby is a big deal and you want to make sure that you are prepared. Your friends and family want to know when they should plan a baby shower, and when they will get to meet the adorable little munchkin. I do not quite understand why complete strangers feel that they are on a need to know basis about a pregnant woman’s due date. My best guess is that it is just a polite conversation starter.
I have been pregnant two times. The first time, my due date was calculated correctly. Very little time was spent on the calculation, but it ended up being right. Despite the correctness of the calculation, my son was born ten days early because I developed preeclampsia. As you might imagine, your baby and your body are not able to be predicted with perfect accuracy.
My second pregnancy was a completely different story. My husband and I had no idea when the “act in question” had occurred. My midwives and I spent a great deal of time trying to pinpoint when I had developed pregnancy symptoms, and we spent a lot of time analyzing my menstrual periods. Of course, I had not had many menstrual periods before I became pregnant with my second child because I was still nursing my first child. To complicate matters further, the periods had been erratic. I went for a dating ultrasound in the hopes of gaining some clarity, and the technician confirmed the date that my midwives had calculated. A subsequent ultrasound at approximately the halfway mark revealed my little guy’s gender, as well as a suggestion that he was “measuring big”. However, both the technician and the midwives felt that the measurements were not so far off the mark that the due date should be changed, so my due date remained as April 17.
Fast forward to March 16. I was beginning to develop early signs of preeclampsia, and I went for another ultrasound so that the doctors could check on the baby. The ultrasound surprised everyone, because there on the screen, was a full term baby boy. I was thrilled, and the news that Blake had made it to term made it much easier to handle the news that I did in fact have preeclampsia and would have to be induced. Imagine my husband’s surprise when I called him at work to tell him that we would be having our baby the very next day. To his credit, he took it very much in stride.
Most babies are born within two weeks on either side of their due dates. It may be helpful to think of your due date as more of a “window” than an exact date, for planning purposes.