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Misunderstandings About Due Dates

Let's talk about due dates!

How likely is your baby to be born on their due date??

Only 4-5%!

In reality, due dates should probably be called guess dates. In the US, we count to 40 weeks as our due date, but that doesn't mean baby has to be born by 40 weeks. Healthy babies generally come anywhere between 38-42 weeks (preemies are born before 38 weeks, and in rare cases a baby might be born after 42 weeks). In France, the medical community actually considers 41 weeks to be the due date.

How many of you have ever heard a friend say, "I feel like this baby is coming early!"? Or maybe you've said it yourself? Did that baby come before their due date??

The fact is: 73% of all babies are born before 40 weeks. BUT that stat includes people who've given birth before, induced labors, and scheduled C-sections.

If you're a first time parent who is planning to let labor begin on it's own*, then statistically, you've got some time to wait. On average, first time birthers go into labor at 41 weeks and 3 days (10 days past their due date!).

* Unless there's a medical reason that baby needs to be born early, we really recommend avoiding elected inductions and waiting for labor to begin on it's own. Learn more here: Why It's Worth Waiting to Go Into Labor (Lamaze).


Tips for going past 40 weeks:

When you're 9 months pregnant, every day can be exhausting. Chances are you're feeling huge and ready to be done. Watching that due date come and go may be really disappointing.

A few tips to avoid end-of-pregnancy misery:

  1. Count to 42 weeks (or whenever your last day of pregnancy is, per your doc). When people ask your due date, tell them 42 weeks instead of 40. Or try giving a due month instead: "baby will be here in October!" By giving people a later date, you'll avoid some of the "where's baby??" texts at the end of pregnancy.

  2. Plan lots of fun things to do between 40-42 weeks. Dates with your partner, coffee with friends....anything that makes you happy! This gives you something to look forward to, if baby hasn't made an appearance yet.

If you've given birth already, when did your baby come??

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