PregnancyWritten by Sallee Dwyer – RN, CM, Dip. Health Counselling, MA. Mid.
From the moment you discover you are pregnant, the countdown begins to meet your precious baby. This seemingly innocent question of “What is your due date?” is often asked by everyone around you and can be the source of great excitement but also great anxiety.  The tough thing is that this question can honestly only be answered by 1 person – your baby!

The midwife or obstetrician will give you a date commonly referred to as “expected date of confinement or expected due date” (EDC or EDD) that is a guide on when your baby will be born but less than 10% of babies actually are born on this date. That means approximately 90% will have a different “birth date” than planned for.
Many pregnant women become preoccupied with the due date, planning their life around it.  Anytime between 37-42 weeks it is normal for your body to go into spontaneous labour.  As you can see this is a large window of time (we are talking sometimes weeks, not just days in variation between your EDC and when the baby actually arrives). Something within the body triggers the pituitary glad to release the hormone oxytocin that then stimulates the uterus to begin tightening causing labour to begin.  It is difficult to predict when this will occur.
If you do know the date of your last period, try the following calculation, called Naegele’s Rule. Babies have a gestational period of about 280 days, so count back 3 months from the first day of your last period and add 7 more days.   Your approximate due date is that day within the next year.  It is important to remember this is only a guide as your baby will grow and mature on his or her own schedule.
Many women are disappointed when they ask “When will the baby come?” and receive a vague or broad answer from their health care professional.  If you do not go into natural labour within this timeframe then you may need to be induced.  Induction is something to discuss with your health care provider about if required.
The bottom-line – Try not to fixate too much on your due date, trust your body and wait it out.  Your due date is not a guarantee so don’t be disappointed if the day comes and goes and your baby hasn’t arrived.  If you are worried about yourself or your baby then always seek medical advice.
Tip: Maybe consider telling family and friends the month you are due (for example middle of November) rather than the specific date so you won’t be bombarded when the date comes. Before you know it the baby will enter the world and in your arms.
Written by Sallee Dwyer – RN, CM, Dip. Health Counselling, MA. Mid.
You can visit Sallee’s website at Midwife To Mum
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