I’ll bet the first thing you want to know when you go to your first doctor visit is your due date…if you haven’t already googled it.
And it’s definetly the first thing your friends and family want to know when you tell them the news.
It’s even the first question I want answered when someone tells me they’re interested in hiring me as their doula.
Most of us are obsessed with due dates.
And I can say ‘obsessed’ in all accuracy because most OB’s and the patients they care for are a bit more than willing to schedule an induction or c-section ON THEIR DUE DATE than they probably should be.
It’s kinda scary so many people do this, really – considering how “off” some people’s due dates have been found to be.
So with all the obsession and controversy, I know it’d be nice to have some of your fears around ‘due dates’ alleviated since everyone makes such a huge deal out of them.
Before I can help you though, let’s find out just HOW obsessed you really are with due dates yourself.
Answer yes or no to the following questions and tally up your “Yes’s”:
1) When someone asks you when you’re due, do you tell them the exact date – day and month?
2) When your friend or family member turns up pregnant, is your first question “So when are you due?” Add another point if you EXPECT them to tell you a month AND day?
3) If you have a friend or family member that never reveals an exact date, just a month timeframe, per se, does it totally irritate you?
4) Have you spent more than 10 minutes trying to figure out an exact due date on online due date calculators?
5) Have you changed your due date more than once?
6) Do you know the date of your Last Menstrual Period?
7) Do you worry about going “overdue”?
If you answered YES to 5 or more of these questions, you’re totally obsessed with your due date – probably just like everyone else who took this quiz.
No worries though. I’m gonna help you get over this obsession by alleviating some fears around due dates based on really bad science.
Let me make it clear: a due date can only EVER BE an estimated guess date because there are so many factors that should be taken into account that aren’t such as cycle length, when you ovulate, the day you conceived, if you’re a first-time mama or not, race, age, etc...
Turns out, there are several ways to calculate due dates:
- Doctors use Naegele’s Rule to give you a due date. It’s calculated by taking the date of your last menstrual period, adding one year, subtracting 3 months and then adding 7 days to that. Sound like accurate science to you? Hmmm….
It doesn’t even account for your unique cycle length or the fact that you might not ovulate on the date that Naegele’s rule assumes (day 14 of your cycle, btw).
- Then there’s the Mittendorf-Williams Rule that takes into account more factors like number of previous births, age and race. It also says that the average gestation for a first-time mama is actually 41 weeks and 1 day, and for a multipara mama, 40 weeks and 3 days. But this method is hardly ever used.
- And to add to the mix of calculating due dates, now there are ultrasound dates that you can go by that get more and more inaccurate as your pregnancy goes on leaving you to wonder if they were ever accurate in the first place.
Even if you’re the most loyal cycle tracker, you can never REALLY know your due date since there’s still debate on the average gestation time and how to calculate it in the first place…it’s all simply an estimate and that’s all it ever needs to be.
We’re obsessed with due dates because the human mind seeks for something to count on and plan on. Once it gets a date in mind, it can relax. But does it really help you relax when you go a day past your due date, or a week, or even two? Probably not.
Here’s an idea: instead of giving your mind a due date to fixate on, give it a guess time frame instead.
So instead of your baby being due April 29th, tell yourself and everyone else that you’re guessing your baby will be here towards the end of April or early May.
Or, instead of June 20 (the first day of Summer), tell yourself and everyone else that you’re guessing your baby will be here at the beginning of Summer.
And for goddess’ sake, quite perpetuating the obsession by asking your family and friends their due date! [Guilty as charged] You can ask for a guess time frame instead.
Every pregnancy is unique and the best thing you can do is to cut yourself some slack as opposed to creating rigid barriers and timelines.
Gestating a baby isn’t like paying your credit card bill. You’re not going to get a big-ole fine for not having your baby on a particular day.
This thinking is outdated and over masculinized. Having a baby isn’t about production… or else.
It’s about recognizing that birth is fluid, highly varying, and unpredictable. It’s feminine energy to the max. Not fixed, rigid, structured.
If you want to get over your due date obsession, take your ‘due date’ and throw it out the window. It was only ever a guess anyway – bad science to the max.
With so much love,