One of the MOST important aspects of your prenatal care is to clearly identify your due date! Historically, the “gold standard” for getting your due date as accurate as possible is to base it on your last menstrual period(LMP). This method of calculation is used throughout the world and has proven itself as very accurate. HOWEVER, it can be a huge problem to consider accurate IF a woman is unsure of her LMP.
It is not unusual to now really know your LMP, an for some women is quite common for the following reasons.
- Irregular periods making tracking the “time of the month” harder unless you actually write it on a calendar to refer to.
- Breastfeeding a baby can alter your ovulation, making tracking when you actually got pregnant difficult.
- Some areas of the world do not use calendars which really makes the dating difficult.
So how do you know when you are really due?
Well, that is a great question! I can answer that question in several manners. First, many women know when they actually got pregnant based on monitoring closely when they ovulate and have intercourse. REALLY! When you ovulate your bodies gives out signs that ovulation is happening and if you have intercourse at the same time the probability of pregnancy is high! THE accuracy of your due date is best if you know when you ovulated(and more information on ovulation would be another blog topic).
We can also figure out your estimated due date (EDD) by ultrasound, “sort-of”. This is done by measuring the head of the baby to the end of the spine, called a “crown-rump” measurement. The best time to measure for MOST accurate due dates is during the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy. The Ultrasound machine then calculates your baby and compares it to the “average size” of baby at a certain growth and “estimates” a due date within one week.
If an Ultrasound is done after 12 weeks it has a 2 week error margin on accurate calculations of your due date. Yep 2 week error margin, so if you have an ultrasound and the tech tells you they think your EDD is 12/25 (Christmas Day) remember that your baby could still be within the limits of the Ultrasound by being born on Dec.11 through Jan 5. Keep in mind knowing your LMP is a better EDD than by Ultrasound.
One the “old fashion” ways to determine the EDD (and still remains as a high standard) is when you feel the baby move for the first time really well and that the top of the uterus is felt in line with your belly button when you are reclining. When this all lines up, you are at 20 weeks! It is really a great way we use to make sure your body is matching the date we have decided on. Ask your provider to help you feel the top of your uterus–it is really fabulous!
After 28 weeks of pregnancy- it is really hard to get an accurate EDD within 2 weeks, therefore making the pregnancy harder to establish as normal. If an Ultrasound is completed, it can have a 3 week error margin!!!!
New Birth Company Birth Center had a due date given by our contractors of June 17th, for our completion. Unfortunately, at this time we have come against a snag, or maybe I should say an ROCK WALL. We have not received all of our permits for building the reaming parts of the building! It is really frustrating to be held up by the permit people in Overland Park. Basically we request a permit, and then the planning department responds with questions or approval. We have been quick to answer all questions within 24 hours and serve as ready for any more at any time. Unfortunately, Overland Park has a process where they are not obligated to respond to requests for 21 days. They actually make us wait the entire 21 days to respond to our permitting process. The delay is not only very painful, but also very expensive to us as we are making payments for a facility we are not using. We have spent countless hours in meetings, writing letters, talking on the phone and waiting. I have been told, this is there slow time, and I wonder, really?
I think getting an accurate EDD is very important, even for New Birth Company. Inaccurate information is costly, time, consuming and painful!