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The Trouble with Due Dates

So you are moving through this thing called life when, congratulations! You are pregnant! YAY!

Probably, one of the first things you are going to want to know is how far along you are and when to expect this bundle of joy. So you see your care provider and they calculate the date you should be meeting your baby. You are so excited! Your pregnancy goes by and your due date arrives...and passes. Two more days go by, followed by another day and another. What gives? Are you late? Why aren't you in labour? Is something wrong?

To begin, it's best to think of due dates as more of a general estimate of a possible time period you might give birth during. Many little things might make it simply an educated guess rather than a date you can pinpoint on the calendar, such as your cycle lengths; fertilization date; implantation date; etc.

Maybe you feel worried that if you go past your due date that you will be overdue. What is full term and what is healthy? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines what is "term" in the following ways:

Early Term: 37 weeks to 38 weeks +6 days

Full Term: 39 weeks to 40 weeks +6 days

Late Term: 41 weeks to 41 weeks +6 days

As you can see, that's a pretty big window of what is considered normal! After 42 weeks, you may be considered "post term" and your care provider may want to talk about induction options and keep a closer watch on your health and the health of your baby. Keep in mind that it is perfectly ok to ask that you be able to get to this point before you look to induction, as long as everything is going well with your pregnancy.

The last weeks of pregnancy can be hard on a person, physically and emotionally. Sometimes you just want the baby out, partly so that you can feel comfortable again, but also so that you can finally hold your baby in your arms! Despite the anxiety of getting to that point, try to remember that your baby will come when it is ready to be born and that a due date is really more like a due month. Take those last weeks and enjoy them!

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