The best way to calculate an estimated due date for your child is to count from your last period. Typically pregnancies range from 38 to 40 weeks (after conception). Knowing this information, we can then count about 280 days back to when your Last Menstrual Period (LMP) was.
However, there are other methods that exist, one being to subtract three months from the first day of your last period, and add seven days. This would be the way your doctor estimates your due date, and is a good foundation for assuming a general date for your newborn.
To give an example; let’s say your period started on February 1, we would then count three months backwards, to November in our case, and then add seven days, which would make your estimated due date November 8. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that it is very normal to deliver up to two weeks before or after this estimated date.
Is it possible to plan my due date?
While it is possible, it is important to understand that the very few lucky ones actually get pregnant during their “ideal time”. Nature will take its course, but it can always help to generally map it out. Try making a “plan” for when you’d like to conceive and stick to it the best you can, but understand your baby will come when it is the right time.
How likely is it for my due date to change?
This is a commonly misunderstood concept. The answer is yes; your due date can change. There may be a number reasons for why your doctor may change your date, and know that it does not happen to everyone.
Everyone’s body, cycles and therefore pregnancies are all unique in their own ways. A reason for a delay may be that your periods are more irregular and that your early ultrasound was dating off. It could also be that your first ultrasound was only in your second trimester.
It could even be because your doctor believes that your fundal height is abnormal, or your levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein that the baby makes, are outside of their usual range.
If you have any questions, or feel that something is slightly off, do not hesitate to talk to your practitioner about them.
Beginning your pregnancy journey…
Once you’re aware of an estimated due date, it’s time to start planning for your newborn!
Every step of the journey is important, and to start it off it’s crucial to schedule appointments and checkups with your doctor to help keep track of your progress and also to confirm your pregnancy with a physical exam and blood test. After this, a more precise due date can be fixed.
The following appointments will include examinations of your body, uterus size and updates and monitors of your future child’s development, safety and health. These appointments will also include thrilling milestones such as feeling the first push, hearing their first heartbeat and seeing them through ultrasounds. It is through this monitored progress and development that your due date might also be moved around slightly and adjusted for the best approximation.
Doctors are always there to care and support you throughout this journey, however, it is equally as important to be knowledgeable yourself and do additional research and discover pregnancies for yourself.