Pregnancy

You May As Well Just Totally Ignore Your Due Date

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due-dateI think we should totally abandon the concept of due dates and start saying things like, This baby might be here somewhere around late May. Or it could be early June. Or maybe even mid-May. Just relax and don’t worry about it too much. With less than five percent of women going into birth on their actual due dates, it seems silly that we even still use a date at all.

With both my pregnancies, I convinced myself at 37 weeks I would be going into labor any minute. 37 weeks used to be when your doctor considered you “full term” – so since it’s safe for the baby to make an appearance, and you’re totally sick of being pregnant, you start to convince yourself it’s going to happen. About 80 percent of women deliver sometime between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant. That is a five week window! That is a lot of days coming and going. Doctors have since revised the full-term definition to 39 weeks – so a little less time to obsess, but still annoying.

Of course, since I was totally ready to give birth at 37 weeks – it didn’t happen for me for either pregnancy until I was 42 weeks. The end of a pregnancy can get pretty miserable and waiting for that due date is way worse than watching water boil. You convince yourself every day that it may happen. Then your due date arrives and – nothing. Gah. So frustrating.

Times that frustration by a thousand when your family starts anxiously anticipating the arrival with you. With my first pregnancy, we wanted my family (read, my mother) to wait until after the baby was born to come see us because we wanted as little stress as possible. Then the due date came and went, and the hourly calls started. How are you feeling? What does the doctor say? Do you think I should just book my ticket? How are you feeling? Oh my god. It drove us so crazy we decided to just tell her to come – which went against the plan we had to have a low key, relaxing, solo birth experience. It turns out that plan wasn’t in the cards anyway, but having my mother staring at me for almost two weeks trying to will me to go into labor wasn’t optimal.

Clearly your doctor needs to calculate your due date so she can make sure everything is moving along as it should. But try to remember that this date is a very loose estimation of when this baby will make its way into the world, so you don’t spend the last few weeks of your pregnancy driving yourself insane.

(photo: mathom/Shutterstock)