The first thing the midwife will ask you, when you attend an appointment is 'what was the first day of your last period?' They wanna know how many weeks pregnant you are and ultimately, when the baby will be born.
As soon as you know, you'll write it on your calendar. That date will be what you are working towards. Every day that goes by is one day closer to the birth of your baby.
All your friends and family want to know when you are due. If you see a stranger in the street, chances are they will ask you when you are due. Everything revolves around when you are bloody due. Due doesn't even look like a real word now...
Then you have your 12 week dating scan. Apparently, the most accurate for telling you when you are due. The date will probably change from the one the midwife gave, and of course we will believe the scan over the date when you may be certain you conceived.
The date comes around and the baby still hasn't arrived, or maybe they have come 'early!' Who bloody knows. One day you are early, next day you are late. People are pestering you, has the baby come yet? You are getting impatient, they are getting impatient and the doctors are getting impatient. Then comes arranging the induction. Then you get to almost 42 weeks, to be told that if you go any further, that your baby will die, because the placenta is failing. In the next breath, you have to be induced because the baby will get too big. How can the placenta fail and the baby get too big, at the same time?
Your baby will come when they are ready. Whether that is at 36 weeks or 42. If left to their own devices, the baby will be born. That is not to say medical intervention is ALWAYS wrong, in some cases the baby or your body just ain't playing ball and it is the right thing to be induced. However, we need to be clued up on these scenarios.
The midwife will work out your 'due date' based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). They will use Naegales Rule, which is where you add 7 days and 40 weeks to the first day of your LMP. The assumption is made that you will have a 28 day cycle and ovulate on day 14. This is clearly rubbish, as we know, all women are totally different and you know your own body.
As I mentioned above, a scan between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy is the 'most accurate' time to work out your 'due date'. So, even if the date the scan gives is totally impossible physically, this will be the one they go for. It is based on the size of the baby at that point in time. Medical technology ain't always the best way and if you have more than one scan, it can give different dates!
The Rest of the World
Soo, all our bodies are the same, right? Well, if you lived in France, your due date would be 7 days later than the one you have now (41 weeks). This would give you an extra week not to stress out and the likelihood is that your baby would be born by this point anyway! If 41 weeks is alright for French women, why in the UK is 40 weeks such a big deal?
Research says that only around 5% of babies are born ON their due date. So, 96% of you can disregard that date. The World Health Organisation states that full term is between 37 and 42 weeks, so that gives you over a month where your baby can be born and classed as healthy! Why do we jump so much on the 40th week? If we had a 'due month' instead, it would cause much less stress and anxiety.
Plus, a first time pregnancy is statistically likely to go over the 40 week mark. For first time mothers, 75% had given birth by 41 + 2 days and by 41 weeks for subsequent births.
The important thing here is that you take the pressure off. Don't go round telling everyone that your baby will be born on the 21st December 2018, because the chances are, it won't happen and you'll be setting yourself up for hundreds of messages, calls and visitors asking you if the baby has been born. NO it hasn't, sorry guys, I obviously just forgot to tell you that I just had a baby!
I would recommend looking at your given date as a month, or window instead. If people ask when you are due, give a month or add 2 weeks to your estimated due date. Because that is what it is, an estimate!
There are of course, times that you will need to help baby along, in the form of induction for whatever reason, but that should be a well considered choice and not one that is made out of fear or because the doctor told you to.
How do you feel about your 'due date'? Have you taken anything from this post?
If you want to join a supportive group for birth and beyond, why not have a look at the Reframing Birth Community?
If you want to delve deeper, why not look into a hypnobirthing course with me? I'd love to get support you to have your light bulb moment, about birth! x