Are due dates untrustworthy?
Let me give you a quick history: My first child was born 11 days past her due date, and my second was well on her way to competing with her sister... until I couldn't take it anymore and scheduled an induction. Thus, I'm not such a big fan of the whole "due date" prediction. As it turns out, thanks to a new study, I might not be so crazy for saying "DUE DATE, SCHMOO DATE!" (unless I happened to yell it at say, the grocery store... that'd make me a little crazy).
Related: 8 things I wish I'd known before my wife's c-section
So here are the facts: a study of 125 pregnant women was conducted, and only 4% of the women actually delivered on their due dates. 30% did not give birth within 10 days of their due dates. In the past, that kind of variation could be attributed to inaccurate calculations of the baby's age. The US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences begs to differ. Their study used urine samples to determine ovulation and implantation dates, and (excluding premies), found the natural gestation period varied by up to 37 days. Interestingly, the study also found a link between gestation length and the age of the mother, the weight she was at birth, and the time it took for the embryos to implant.
What this all means is simple-when your doctor tells you your due date, take it with a grain of salt. Ask for a "delivered by" date instead, and then you can figure out when to go out and buy diapers. I must admit I had a pretty good idea of the whole "due date" game with my second pregnancy, but do wish this study had been around with my first. Those 11 days of waiting for her arrival were agonizing!
-By Ellen Schmidt
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