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Calculating Your Due Date

Calculating Your Due Date

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As soon as you get pregnant, you will probably wonder when your baby will be born. You can calculate your due date to find out when your baby will most likely arrive, although it is not an exact science. Your due date is calculated by noting the first day of your last menstrual period. So, your pregnancy is about 280 days from your last menstrual period, which equals nine months and forty weeks. Technically, you're already considered two weeks pregnant at the time of conception, as your menstrual period for that month counts as part of your pregnancy.

Some women may miscalculate their last period, or base it on implantation bleeding rather than menstruation. If your baby is premature or has a growth problem, your due date could be inaccurate. Similarly, if your baby is larger than normal, you may be given an earlier due date by mistake. That is why a lot of women have taken to say that their baby is due at the end of July or sometime in February rather than giving the exact date!

As your pregnancy progresses, however, your doctor will be able to give you a good idea of when your baby is due as he or she grows and develops. At each stage of your pregnancy, your baby will have reached certain growth levels and your physician can estimate age based on these milestones. Keep in mind that only 5 percent of babies are actually born on the due date; the rest come within two weeks before or two weeks after the predicted due date. While it is helpful to have an idea of when your baby will arrive, do not count on it as being the day he or she will arrive.

If you pass your due date, you can discuss the options for induction with your physician. Today, doctors will carefully monitor your pregnancy and advise an induction if necessary. In the case of multiples, you will probably go into labor earlier than expected, but it is common for one twin or triplet to fall behind in growth and development as the due date comes and goes. Your health care provider will help you decide when the best time to induce your baby is, but it is always your choice. Discuss the options with your physician, and any risks that may be associated with allowing your baby's birth to happen naturally.


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