The Estimated Due Date. So much weight is put into this magical date during pregnancy. It is one of the first things people will ask you when you share you are pregnant. It is a guideline your care provider will use to weigh medical decisions for you and your baby. Because of our society's perception surrounding this date, it often feels like a deadline for your baby's birth. But, is it?
The truth is... your due date is a guesstimation! No one truly knows when your body will begin labor or when your baby is ready to be born. Each pregnant body and each pregnancy is different. Some babies need less time and some need more. However, we do know inducing labor and forcing babies to come (when there is no true medical necessity) increases risk to you and your baby. If you and your baby are healthy, there is no reason why you cannot wait for labor to begin on its own.
Reasons for Induction
Abnormal Fetal Heart Rate
Low Amniotic Fluid
High Amniotic Fluid
Maternal Hypertension (BP over 140/90)
Not Reasons for Induction
Going past 40 weeks gestation
Expected "big" baby
No cervical change prenatally
Feeling "done" being pregnant
Provider going on vacation
The truth is... you can safely give birth anytime between 37 and 43 weeks gestation. When you give birth will depend on many variables and simply cannot be accurately predicted. There is some correlation shown between females from the same family in regards to spontaneous labor. If your mother has given birth closest to 41 weeks with her pregnancies, you will potentially do the same. If you have given birth once or more before, you will potentially have a baby around the same gestation as the previous pregnancies. These patterns can give you a little bit of information, but know that you may stray away from them, too.
Pregnancy and birth requires so much trust and patience from us. Trust that your body and baby know when it is time. Be patient with yourself and your baby as you approach, and/or surpass, your due date. Being surrounded by a positive, encouraging support system during this time is important, too!