164 thoughts on “Estimated Due Dates

  1. The fear comes from people like my mother who fought off being induced with her first baby (before me) and he died in the womb. The idea is that some women ought to be induced to prevent stillborns~ my family tends to birth early or “right on time” (mine were 37 and 40 weeks) and since it was her first, she didn’t know that. Not that I buy into the EDD since I saw how all over they were with my kiddos, but I’m just sayin’ sometimes there is a reason.

    1. That’s the thing Holly, every mom is different and every mom should go with what her body does. For me, inducing early would mean an unhealthy child. I know that there are reasons, but they are rare. Unfortunately it’s the other way around and most women are induced too early, not too late. I am so sorry for your mother’s loss. 🙁

      1. My son was stillborn at 29 weeks. He was deemed perfectly healthy at a 20 week scan. No intervention would have been likely to save him. Regardless, my midwife (who I had other problems with) made the flippant comment ‘They won’t let you go full term again’ with no explanation as to who ‘they’ were and why. It was taken as a given that I’d be induced at 38 weeks with any future pregnancy.

        Needless to say, when I conceived my daughter less than a year later I was neurotic. I began a love-hate relationship with the frequent scans and CTGs I was offered. They provided reassurance, but it was fleeting. I was on an emotional rollercoaster. At about 37 weeks, my midwife suddenly said “Everything’s going well. I think you can go full term”. Either someone had vetoed her decision to induce a healthy baby or it was all part of the manipulation. Predictably, I flipped out. To me, my womb was a dangerous place and someone had just moved the goalposts that my sanity was teetering on. I insisted that I be induced. I had my induction with prostaglandins at about 39 weeks.

        Despite it all going well – and the ease with which everything went made me wonder if she wasn’t far from ready in any case – it’s something I deeply regret. I have no idea what the beginning of a normal labour feels like. I put us through unnecessary risks, and ones I wasn’t even made aware of. Seven years on, this baby will be my first unmedicated, natural labour at home. I feel like I need this experience in order to move on.

        1. Wow Amy. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I can completely understand why you felt the way you did and how it led you to make the choices you did. I do not think you should beat yourself up for your choices. All of this information, blogging, pages, etc. is great, but it never takes into account how each of us are individuals going through our own situations. Be easy on your self mama. (((hugs)))

          1. Ah, it’s okay, I don’t! I DO feel somewhat robbed of a completely normal, natural experience though, and have done almost from the day she was born. I wasn’t in control, she wasn’t in control, and I was examined despite expressing my desire not to be. My midwife ran that particular show. This one will be mine/ours.

            I’ve done a lot of reading in 7 years and I certainly didn’t experience any guilt from reading your blog – nor see anything particularly new to me, except the Woods Method – interesting! I’ll be mentioning *that* to my midwife. I’m always shocked by just how many women are induced in the USA and by such risky methods such as Pitocin and Cervidil. In NZ, it’s common knowledge that you’re not really ‘post dates’ until 42 weeks – though you may well be tired, grumpy and over it!

    2. Babies die in the womb before their EDD too. Some babies die. What is to say that he wouldn’t have had SIDS if he had been born? I don’t think scaring women into being induced really saves that many lives. I very much regret my induction with my daughter at 41 weeks 1 day but it did give me a lot of things to learn about in the 10 years of infertility between her and my son. My son was born also at 41 weeks 1 day, but it was at home and he came when he was ready.

      1. I’ve thought the same thing as Angela. If the baby isn’t healthy enough to live in the womb, would the baby not also be too unhealthy to live earthside? I don’t know, but I’m glad someone else has brought up the same thought I’ve had for awhile.

  2. It goes the other way around too. My cycle is between 22-26 days but the EDD calculators are all based on a 28 day cycle so i always measure “big” by about a week or 2. My daughter came at 38 weeks and when i waltzed into the hospital with a grin on my face they were in NO hurry to help me out. (not that i needed it). I was 7cm when they checked me… Doctors, midwives, etc need to focus more on the woman and NOT the numbers. Every woman births differently. If mama feels good, leave her alone! I am currently “34 weeks” by all the calculations and my midwives have NEVER even mentioned to me what my due date is… I haven’t asked either.

    1. This is interesting because I also have a short (24- 26 day cycle) and tend to start having braxton hicks early and give birth “early”, my first daughter was 37week and my second was 38weeks. Also, a week before I had my second daughter I was checked at an appointment (I asked to be checked because my husband was out of town and i wanted an idea of where I was at in case i needed to call him home) and I was already at a 4 even though i wasn’t even in labor.

  3. My daughter was born at home at 42 weeks. When people ask me “how many weeks did you go?” and I answer them, they always follow up with “so she was two weeks late”. Ummmm no she was right on time. 42 weeks is considered full term, not overdue.
    This time around no one other than the people who are attending the birth will be told my EDD, my one and only pet peeve during those two weeks was having everyone calling or FB’ing me asking if I’ve had the baby yet. Babies come when they are ready people and crawling up my ass about it isn’t going to make s/he come any sooner, my baby doesn’t give two hoots about your timetable and neither do I.

    1. I love it! I just took my kids for their first day of school yesterday and the office lady said to me, “Wow, I thought you would have had that baby by now!” Cause she’d have seen me SO often over the summer to have gauged when I should have birthed. *sigh* I had to tell her I wasn’t even “due” until the middle of October, and I’m entirely fine going 42 weeks. Daughter was a due date baby at 40, son was at 41, this little guy can take his time if he wishes. 🙂

  4. The research you’ve posted was done by someone for a birth educator certification …..not very reliable… just about anyone could write such a paper! As for mentioning Michel Odent works it is a much more reliable source , but we shouldn’t make blanket statement, Inducing is bad , every pregnancy is so very different.In some case inducing can save a life!!
    While I totally agree that every woman is different , and that there shouldn’t be an expiration date on a pregnancy. individual cycles should be the indicator, not a cooky cutter format.
    I would think backing your post with more “real” reliable research would make it more belivable!

    1. If you would like to recommend some links, feel free. 🙂 I am sure there are many. Also, the blog I linked to, probably had links of its own. It is up to everyone to educate themselves further. I am not writing a research paper myself, but a blog post to inspire and make women think and educate themselves further to make the best choice for them. Thanks for your thoughts.


    2. taken from http://www.aims.org.uk My doctor says that because I am overdue I must come into hospital tomorrow to be induced: I feel fine and my baby feels fine, what can I do?

      The decision to be induced is yours and yours alone. You can simply stay at home until you go into labour. You should be offered some sort of monitoring of your baby, however, there is no evidence that this improves outcomes. Your rights to support for the birth at home or in hospital are unchanged no matter how long your pregnancy has been.

      It can be difficult refusing when you are under such pressure, however if you do decide to go to the hospital and discuss your decision you may like to press for a clear answer about the relative risks of the likely adverse affects of the procedure on you and your baby so that you can weigh those up against the unlikely potential benefit of preventing an unexplained stillbirth. Asking for such information in writing might be helpful.

      The rates of an unexplained still birth is as follows:

      37 weeks – 1:645
      38 weeks – 1:730
      39 weeks – 1:840
      40 weeks – 1:926
      41 weeks – 1:826
      42 weeks – 1:769
      43 weeks – 1:633

      (Note that the rate at 37 weeks is almost the same as at 43 weeks)
      Cotzia C. et al. Prospective risk of unexplained still birth in singleton pregnancies at term: population based analysis, British Medical Journal, Vol. 319, pp 287-288 1999.

      Longer pregnancies are usually a variation of normal and about 5% of pregnancies will go to 42 weeks and 1% to 43 weeks. Often women who have longer pregnancies find other family members have been born at longer gestations too (themselves or their partner, their siblings, parents, cousins, etc.)

  5. I love this and think all moms should be this positive about “due” dates. My mother was 3 weeks over with my sisters, 2 weeks with me and 1 week 1/2 with my baby sister. I have reserved that my little one will come when it wants…. and if it’s later than my EDD then so be it. I have gotten EDDs of 11/18, 11/21, 11/25 and 12/3…. 🙂 I’m sure this one will be earthside when he/she feels ready.

  6. Thanks for this info and perspective. It is so sad that women seem to blindly follow their doctor’s instructions and “ideals” to their and their baby’s personal detriment. Why do they seem to think that the doctor “knows best” rather than listening to their own intuition, their bodies and trusting that nature KNOWS more than medicine?

    Please, please, ladies! Do your OWN homework and trust in yourselves! Birth is a beautiful, natural event which has occurred for thousands of years all on it’s own with no help, input or interventions of modern medicine. Granted it is met with some risk, which we are all aware of. Unfortunately, the negative news gets spread more frequently than the positive and uneventful!

    Every women, pregnancy, and baby is different! You cannot make arbitrary edicts upon the entire population when it comes to pregnancy and birth! And, more especially, labor and birth should not be measured by this rigid model!

    Trust yourself and be aware of all the potential for complications and risk to yourself and your baby when you buy into the medical model and allow them to mold yourself unto it! I hope we can adopt a more appropriate dogma through our pro-active responses to our providers.


    It really is that simple!

    1. I wouldn’t tell everyone to just say no to induction. I went into labor with my first at home on my own. I was group b strep positive. The infection spread into my uterus and caused me a very fast painful labor, and I hemoraged pretty badly. My doctor was able to stop it with out any surgeries and I wasn’t even aware of it at the time because I was so focused on my son. My son was born with group b strep and spent his first 7 days in the hospital. When we brought him home we had to give him 3 days worth of iv antibiotics. That was the scariest thing we have ever been through. So with my second and third I chose induction early with iv antibiotics even though I tested neg for group b strep both times. They were both born healthy and were able to go home with me 2 days later. My fourth was born into heaven at 26 weeks gestation, and I am currently pregnant with my 5th. I go in every 2 weeks just to hear that heartbeat and later on in my pregnancy I will go in for longer monitoring of the heartbeat, and when the time comes I will choose induction with antibiotics. Why? Because that seems to work the best for me and brings me the most comfort. I think it’s great that so many of you all are able to wait it out comfortably, as for me my blood pressure and peace of mind can’t do it.

  7. hum I thought I posted an comment..
    So I was thinking that the CDC link you have posted about post date was very interresting!
    It’s all about making up your own mind!!! Feeling empowered in the decision you make!

    1. Mommas it’s so common that women go past their due date. I teach classes in a natural birthing center and I see Mommas go past their due dates all the time, some birth before, and I haven’t seen any so far that birth on that date.
      I went almost 3 weeks past which I was completely comfortable with, unfortunately most people didn’t share my comfort, matter of fact I made them very uncomfortable, which was very odd. It was like I was being fed to the sharks, I couldn’t walk down the street without someone asking,
      “When are going to be induced?”

      If you do go past it’s more important than ever to create that bubble of peace and protection for yourself and don’t allow anything or anyone that’s not positive to penetrate it.

      Did you experience the induction mania too? How did you handle it?

      1. I’m only 39 weeks and having same problem! People think I am insane or worse, completely wrong when I tell them “no, am not planning an induction if I go past 40 weeks.” Sometimes just to placate I tell them we will do non-stress testing, and I hate saying it, but I’m getting tired of having to explain myself to everyone. Uuurgh, it makes me so mad at stupid providers who tell women it is dangerous to go past 40 weeks, then they go around telling everyone else…I am happy I know better, but it still sucks when it is your friends telling you this stuff.

  8. I love the fact that this has been talked about so openly here. This is a topic I bring up with women in my groups time and time again. (I’m in the UK). I get so fed up with our ‘system’. The women go through a lovely pregnancy, I’ve worked to empower them and help them feel positive regarding their labour and birth etc, then they have a midwife appointment at about 39 weeks and she’s saying, “well, we need to start thinking of a sweep pretty soon, and if by the next appointment time you haven’t had baby, will need to book you in for induction.” Aaaaggh…everything goes downhill at this point and the women start to become fearful and worried. I’m always saying that there’s no such thing as a ‘due date’ – allow your baby to decide when it feels ready to be in this world.

  9. I too have endured the “haven’t you had that baby yet?” fornight (or so). My first daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean section after a failed induction (because of pre-eclampsia) at 38 weeks. Breastfeeding meant that I had one period between babies – on 16/10/2009. My second daughter chose to arrive (with gentle, natural encouragement!) on 15/8/2010. You do the Math – based on a 28-day cycle this would be 43 weeks + 2 days :o) My cycle is generally longer though, but even with an EDD of 30/7/2010 she was 16 days “late”. My caregivers were fantastic and supported me in my decision not to induce labour, which would have meant giving up on my long-held dream of a home birth, and quite possibly various other interference with labour leading to another caesarean section. I will forever be delighted and satisfied with my decision to wait for Susan, who was born at home entirely without medication. It is VERY important to have the support of one’s caregivers in this decision; I would have found it very difficult to withstand much pressure to induce, despite my fear of hospital.

  10. Wow! I was just linked to this site by a friend, SO true! I knew my son was conceived July 1st 2008. I told my doctor and he asked my cycle, I explained it was erratic and had ended around the 16th of June. He then proceeded to spin his date wheel and tell my I was due March 13th 2009. I said I wondered if it should be later because he was conceived later, he said no.
    The ultrasound technician looked at my son at “21 weeks” according to my EDD and said my son was small for the date given, I explained again the conception and erratic cycle, she said she would guess his date closer to March 26th.
    I went back to my Doctor, told him this and he shrugged it off. At 34 weeks I was referred to my OB and he agreed with the ultrasound tech and myself, saying there was no pressure and babies come when they come, he said to expect anywhere from the 13th to April 3rd.
    My OB went to Africa on March 12th and was returning on the 3rd! he put in place a wonderful intern to look after me. On April the 1st I had an appointment and started feeling contractions, at this point I was still very content with being pregnant and did not feel a great need to go into labour. My intern said I looked fine and was progressing slowly, to go home and wait. I went home and waited, the contractions ceased. I went back in 2 days later and my intern said i was still only 2 cm, she said she would consider inducing on the 6th. the Monday. I was now feeling that I was ready to meet this baby and be comfortable in my own skin again, I did not wish to be induced and knew I was just feeling ready now. Lincoln was born 9lbs 2.5 oz at 2:59 a.m. on April 5th. He was perfectly healthy and so was I. My OB delivered him with 3 hours sleep and jet lag. I was “10 days” “past due”. I did not feel that way, but everyone around me did! I never ceased hearing the “oh! your STILL pregnant? Are you getting induced?” Or after he was born “oh! you had your baby Finally! were you induced?” NO I was not!!! I had a completely natural childbirth and gave birth to a perfectly healthy boy with nothing but the support of my Mother, Husband, doctor and God. Take that and swallow it induction fascists!

  11. Thank you for your words of wisdom! I was induced with my first baby at 41 weeks. I had the PUPP rash so I was very ready to be done with my pregnancy. But I did not get all the facts on how induction can completely ruin the birthing process and inhibit your body from progressing naturally through labor. I thought once it started that my body would just take over and we would be fine from there. Wrong! So my first birth ended in a c-section after only 3 hours of pushing and the doctors convinced that I wouldn’ t progress on my own. It’s like they thought my body was completely incapable of going into labor and birthing my child. I realize now that it just takes patience!
    I appreciate your blog so much! We are trying for our next one now that I have overcome the fear from birthing my first baby (she just turned 2). I love the strength that you have and I’m thankful that you are willing to share your stories to bring strength to others like me that need it!

    1. Donna, I had a C-section with my first as well for similar reasons of the doctor convincing me that my body was incapable of going through labor and delivery. From the surgical report, I found out she was just posterior, which usually takes a lot longer to deliver. Since then, I have had two children, both of which were VBACs, because I realized I, and my provider, were going to need to have patience! I also read up on different positions to help the birth along for posterior babies (my second was also posterior) and different things to do to help me prepare for the long labor and make it more relaxing. I also made sure my provider (a midwife for my second and third) knew how important it was to me to let my body be the guide of my labor and delivery. Our bodies are amazing!

  12. I agree. Thank you for posting this and will be sharing the link if thats OK.

    I have had 4 children and gone ‘post dates’ with all of them. My first, I was induced and swore that it would never happen again. I was young, and naive and thought the hospy knew best. I was 41+3wks when my son was born. 41wks when my daughter was born, 43+2wks when my second son was born, and 40+3wks when my second daughter was born.
    Although my third child passed away at birth, it had nothing to do with going ‘post dates’ and it upsets me that I can’t help women more and talk about these things thru worry that they will then fear going post dates. I just want to help and inform women more that it’s ok to go past what they are told is there EDD.

  13. I don’t know who could change the definition of “due date,” but I think it needs to be done. Especially in America. In America, if you pass a due date, then you are late. If postdates is defined as 42 completed weeks, then the due date needs to be redefined as 42 weeks, or no one will buy it. Americans hate being late, and they hate it even more when other people are late. Consider being late to work. A couple of minutes is ok, though you may be considered irresponsible. Over fifteen minutes, and you’ve committed a minor infraction. Once you hit a half hour to 45 minutes, you’re lucky if you aren’t fired! I think the same thinking has been applied to birth due dates, and I think we need to start a huge petition to get the definition changed. It would be a million times more difficult for a doctor to unecessarily induce a mother, putting her at 2-300% increased risk of emergency c-section. As you say, this is no small number of mothers, we are talking 50-80% of moms who are affected.

  14. Very interesting…I never had to deal with induction for a few reasons. One, my FP is typically opposed to induction and second, I always delivered “early” at 38 and 39 weeks respectively. Other then the 30 week scares with both my kids I had no reason to even begin to think that I would need to be induced. However, I have known several mothers who have chosen to be induced on a particular date as well as choose their own c-sections. The biggest problem that I see is that there are some like those here on this blog who disagree with the medical community and there are some who complain when their docs don’t induce because they are tired of being pregnant. How do we change this mindset and get mothers on, if not the same page, then at least the same planet?

  15. I birth almost on my due dates for both my girls. With the first I went into labour 40+1 and gave birth the next morning. My second I went into labour on my due date and gave birth the next morning. My cycles are the standard 28 days though. My OB wanted to induce me for my second simply because of size and I kept putting him off as I wanted to go into labour naturally. It got to the point where it really made me angry and apprehensive as I didn’t want to be ‘pushed into it’. Luckily I went into labour on my own and it was so quick. I don’t think anyone should be forced into inducing unless there is an obvious medical problem. I think many women should listen to their own internal instincts more – mother’s instincts are usually pretty spot on. Some women are really in tune though, whilst others are not. Everything within reason.

  16. talking with you on FB about this right now. couldn’t find a way to email you. wanted to suggest that perhaps this blog entry could better reflect what you just clarified for me about the “When you are 40 weeks pregnant your baby is only 38 weeks gestation. ” in the paragraph prior you talk about how you know your conception date. then the next paragraph starts with the above excerpt. it doesn’t clarify that you are talking to those who do NOT track and make it a point to know their cycles/ovulation/conception.
    that would be a great entry idea. speaking to women’s responsibility to and the importance of tracking and knowing their cycles -not just how long their cycle is, but knowing their fertile myrtle window and O-ing.
    thank you for listening.

  17. I wanted to point out the same thing as Rachel. Most of the inductions I have seen have been with a mama that is tired of being pg and her OB is obliging her with an induction – not the other way ’round. I think, while we can put some blame on the medical community for not sticking up for evidence- based care, just as much blame is on the women who are impatient and selfish, IMO. Pregnancy and birth is just as much about the baby as it is the woman. Sorry, huge pet peeve of mine.
    I also agree with Luann. It’s crazy the amount of women who have no understanding of the way fertility and cycles work. And even more crazy the amount of medical “professionals” in women’s health who do not either.

    1. This is true, but where is the informed consent? I endured manipulation following my stillbirth that put me in a position of begging for an induction with my subsequent baby. The risks were never even mentioned. There is a duty of care, that as a professional the attending doctor *should* be informing the woman of the risks involved with any procedure. They should also have the right of veto based on their professional ethics, should they so desire.

      If I pay my GP for a check up, and I’m fat, it’s not my doctor’s responsibility to control my diet, but as a professional he/she should make sure I’m aware of the health risks and offer any assistance and advice should I want it. Fear of litigation and stepping on toes has completely *ruined* your healthcare system. It is worlds apart from ours, yet there are those here that would aspire to have a USA model of care. No thanks – not while you’re several places further down in the infant mortality stats than us.

    2. i don’t agree with this at all. i think that the idea that pregnancy is over at 40 weeks is so prevalent in our society and there is very little info given to pregnant women to prove otherwise that when you get close you think it should be done. the women i know who have been induced it was because their dr.s scared them. “i won’t be there”, “your baby shouldn’t go past 40 weeks”, etc. women are lacking real information to make this choice. if all you hear are scary stories then that becomes what you know.
      being in the medical field myself, i can attest to the fact that drs keep patients in the dark alot of the time. it is just “easier” to have someone scared then to have someone informed. and when you are told after a horrible birth experience that you are lucky to have this baby and should be grateful it is alive and you have no place to grieve or mourn that loss because you are seen as selfish… well what do we do about that? calling women selfish because she was scared by family, the media and her dr isn’t the place to start. getting the real information out there and insisting on patients getting a real informed consent where the doctor sits with you for as long as you need until you know all the risks and benefits that is when it is a true consent. and that is what we should be aiming for.
      personally i have had 6 amazing births. two at birth centers, two and home with midwives and two UC. all of my children were at least 42 weeks. and my cycles are long, and i knew when exactly we got busy to make those babies (LOL) if we went by actual lunar time then my kids were “on time”.

  18. Yikes–Even though I have longer cycles (35 days long), I cook my babies fairly quickly for some reason. I know conception dates, and they always come out testing older than they chronologically should. Based on the normal calculation (from conception), my son was born at 34 weeks and 4 days (induction due to preeclampsia). He tested out at 36 weeks, and we would have gotten to go home on time, but he ended up with severe jaundice thanks to the OB (long story, don’t ask).

    My daughter was born at 37 weeks and 1 day (spontaneously, although my kidneys were spilling a lot of protein again–but no other symptoms). She tested out at exactly 40 weeks. If I recalculate based on the Woods method, she shouldn’t have been born until May 23rd. She was born April 24th, and no one could tell she was almost 3 weeks early by conventional methods.

  19. Sadly, however, even with wonderful midwives the laws sometimes are restrictive. I respect those who go unassisted, but it is not for me – wouldn’t go with the way I labor – so if I want a midwife to attend my HBAC (even if it was just a plain old home birth with no previous csection) by law she is restricted to doing it at or before 42 weeks, then she would have to transfer care to an OB (though I KNOW if I went against that and called her far into labor she would still come, she’s a rebel that has done some Breech births – because as she says it she couldn’t abandon the mother in labor who refused to go to the hospital simply because the laws say she must transfer care) – but still I wouldn’t want her to risk her license for me.

    Thankfully – she is willing to go with MY schedule – I have longer cycles, 31/32 days and was taking my BBT. So my due date is later than an OB would have probably gone along with (though my u/s’s conformed my dates).

  20. Ugh. “DUE DATES” . I hate them. I also know the day of conception for my only baby (7 months old) and she was born at 42 weeks…and the OB was tryign to induce me at 40 weeks because she thought the baby was SOOO big. Guess what? She was born at 7 lb, 13 oz. at 42 weeks. The VERY first thing I said when I pulled her out was “SHE IS NOT BIG!! She is TINY” ha. I swear I will go the midwife route next time, but just in case…I am lying about my last period just to buy msyelf/baby some time from pushy people. I LIKE this post 🙂

    1. I lost my last baby at 38 weeks, and immediately following there was mention of how I should be induced early with the next one. There was completely no reason for this. Our baby died of a cord accident and there was nothing that could have been done differently to save him. For this reason I also lied about my last period. I didn’t want to be fighting with the dr. at the end of my pregnancy. This is a different baby with different needs. I’m not inducing! I also encourage friends with long cycles and other factors to lie about their last period. It just makes sense.

  21. I so agree with all the posts here. My first three babies were ALL born at 42 weeks, and they arrived when they were ready. I got so fed up of people saying, oh are you still here- when are you going to be induced and having to cope with this potential stress as I wanted home births. I have long cycles and a 28 week cycle simply predicts a due date 2 weeks over for me. With this in mind my at an early scan with my fourth baby I was asked if I knew the date of my last period and I decided to pretend I did not- but I knew the date of conception! The doctor said- ok, well let’s go with that as long as it looks ok- which it did! She was born at home the day of my due date (calculated from conception NOT lmp) and I had none of the issues around planned induction etc which was Amazing!

    1. My babies were born at 41 weeks (natural labor), 43 weeks (natural labor), and between 35 and 36 weeks (induced).
      The notion of 37 weeks comes from the general understanding that 37 weeks is when the lungs are developed enough to sustain life. This was the point that my wonderful OB was trying to get me to in order to feel comfortable with an early birth (he would have been fine if we had made it *post date*). Even he considered 37 wks to be too early, and was not happy about the situation that required the early arrival of my youngest. There are good docs out there…

    2. ‘Full term’ is considered to be anywhere from 37-42 weeks. Before 37 weeks is ‘pre-term’ and after 42 weeks is ‘post-term’. I went into labor naturally at 38 and 37 weeks, but I never would have chosen to induce at those times. I happily would have gone past my ‘due date’ but my body and babies had other plans.

      What I found annoying is that I had a pre-term labor episode at 35 weeks with one baby that landed me in the hospital overnight – and I learned that when you hit 36 weeks they no longer try to stop your labor. At 35 weeks they gave me IV drugs and sent me home with 1 week worth of pills intended to calm my contractions, but they absolutely would NOT give me another week’s worth of pills to last until 37 weeks a.k.a. ‘full term’. So not only would they not give me medication to help get me to full term, but if I’d gone into labor again after the pills ran out at 36 weeks the hospital also would not have done anything else to slow my labor. So even though anything before 37 weeks is considered ‘pre-term’ they are not willing to help me get all the way to full-term!? That drove me INSANE. If we are going to have a point that they designate as ‘full term’ why the hell aren’t they willing to help us get there?

  22. I completely agree with due dates being rubbish. I have had three very different births. My first I was induced as I was “14 Days over”. However, when my daughter was born they advised she was probably not ‘overdue’ as she didn’t have dry skin etc. With my second I went to see the consultant at 40 weeks and one day who advised inducement. I refused but felt bullied as she only talked about the negative aspects of going overdue. My son came 6 days after I saw her. With my third, he was breech so I was advised to have a ceasarean, I again refused and went 11 days ‘over’ until I was scanned and discovered he was transverse and distressed. I will always be disappointed by my ceasarean and my first birth. My second birth was the birth I always dreamed of – i.e – Natural, quick. With the other two I had no sense of control and will never forget them, especially the first when I was young and very scared and the midwife told me off for being silly! Good luck to anyone who goes against the system to get the birth they want!

  23. Just wanted to say how thankful I was to read this post today. My first 2 were “early” but my 3rd was induced 9 days after my due date–not for medical reasons, just because she was “late.” it was a hard delivery and she broke her collarbone. The dr said that it was good that we induced because she only would have been bigger and the birth would have been even more difficult. I agreed at the time, but now looking back, I’m pretty sure the induction caused the whole thing. She was only a few ounces bigger than baby #2 and that birth was easy in every way for me and baby. I now think that would would have done better to wait for baby #3 to come on her own. Due with #4 any day now and it was such a good reminder not to be driven by the date! I’m readjusting my mind to what “on-time” means! 🙂

  24. Just wanted to post to say I was very thankful to read this today, as I am 42 weeks tomorrow, and my husband is FREAKING out about it. My first son was born at 41+2, and then only because I took castor oil (up for discussion, I’m sure). I tried castor oil two days ago feeling under pressure from many angles, particularly my husband, to birth this baby. But baby is very happy, moves a ton, and looks fantastic on NST. Thankfully I am with a midwife/birth center this time around, as last time I would have already been induced.
    I am just desperately hoping hubby calms down and lets this baby come on his own. Frankly, I have tried everything I could think of – nipple stim, castor oil, walking, sex, dancing, chiro – to get labor going, and it always peters out, so I’m assuming baby is just not ready. I’m dilate to nearly a 4 already, so I guess it’ll be any minute…
    Thanks for this info!

  25. My mom was due with my little sister around the end of March and her care provider was her family doctor (who delivered me and is still my family doctor 27 years later!). He usually takes the more hands off approach with his medical practice if possible, so it didn’t surprise me when she told us my little sister’s birth story. Like I said she was due in the end of March and she wasn’t born until April 21st! That puts her at 43 weeks plus. The doctor actually broke her water though to induce her because my mom was concerned and then he sent her home to grab a bag. My little sister was born 3 short hours later perfectly healthy and my mom almost didn’t make it back to the hospital!

  26. My husband and I decided to have our first baby at home with the same midwife who delivered me. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen because it wasn’t until my EDD that our baby finally decided to move head down. Then, she stayed that way for 3 1/2 weeks after our EDD. So many people would find out how far overdue I was, and say, ‘I can’t believe your Dr. is letting you go that long!.” Or, “Why haven’t you induced yet?” They thought I was crazy for wanting to wait out my baby. When she was born, she was just under 7lbs and perfectly healthy. It was very hard to be patient, but my birth was a wonderful experience because my body and my baby were ready for it.

  27. Interesting article, if I would have been induced it would have increased my odds for a c-section. Harrison came one day before our due date and he aspirated on meconium and weighed ten and a half pounds! I would have rather taken the chance to be induced and maybe have a c-section then have spent 15 days in the NICU watching my baby have a respirator breath for him. I just wish that a doctor would listen to me and my opinion because I know my body the best oUt of the two of us.

  28. I hate having a “due” date. With my first all I could do was think “how many days over am I?”. Thankfully I still went on to have a successful drug free birth. With my second I was even more educated and didn’t worry about the date. She came early 🙂

    Thanks for all you do to educate women.

  29. I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with surrogate twins and am already fending off suggestions by the OB to induce at 37 weeks. I am trying to make the best out of risking out of my midwife’s care, and the intended parents not being open to a homebirth. At least I found an OB who isn’t looming over me with a scalpel just because I’m carrying two!
    By her thinking, being 38 weeks pregnant with twins is being overdue, and the equivalent of being 41 weeks pregnant with a singleton. When I mentioned that “overdue” isn’t technically until the pregnancy passes 42 weeks her response was “it’s just dangerous and risky for the babies to go any longer than that.”
    I explained why I’m against induction and said that if my body makes it that far, I’d be willing to do NSTs twice a week to calm her fears if necessary. So we’ll see where this journey takes us!

  30. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with us out here working thru the process. Love and blessings to all.

  31. i think that women should have an informed choice,
    both my daughters were induced at 40weeks plus 11 and 40 weeks plus 12. I was getting weeker and weeker and decided it was time to help out nature. So grateful i did as babies very healthy but were 10 pound 2 and 11 pound 6 (i’m little) …..after the induction process was able to have a “natural” birth with both children ….. everyone’s body is different, everyone’s experience different and i’m very grateful for the safety net of modern science that helped me with my precious girls.

  32. I love your blog 🙂 My biggest pet peeve is that the Dr’s (we have no midwives) in my area will schedule an induction BEFORE 40 weeks. I have heard of people going to the Dr and them saying, “Well you are due on Tuesday so if you don’t go into labor naturally by then we will schedule your induction.” This makes me FURIOUS! Everything is “medical” in my area. Nothing is allowed to occur naturally. Everyone is pressured into having inductions, epidurals, and bottle feeding. I really want to work to change that. I mean, our hospital doesn’t even have a lactation nurse on staff. It is beyond ridiculous.

  33. I had 33-34 day mestrual cyles and my midwife adjusted the due date accordingly, which was by about 7 days. She came 3 days after that EDD, which if not calculated according to cycle length, she would have been about “10 days late”.

  34. Im a firm believer that babies will certainly come when they are ready. My first arrived at 25weeks despite me being very health and no complications. (that’s what having a violent relationship does to your stress levels). My second was breech, had an elective ecv as I had no intentions of having a c-section, they admitted me and induced at 39weeks. At this point I wasn’t aware of my rights and did not know I could refuse.

    My 3rd was lovely, I hired a doula, who gave me all the ammunition that I needed. Despite being under consultant care, my pregnancy was text book. I refused all blood tests and fought tooth and nail for a home birth. The midwife, who was darn snooty, said if I hit 40 weeks said she’ll be admitting me for induction. (oh no she won’t). I was on a mission to make sure I had a different midwife that attended my birth, I went on long powerful walks to get myself going. Evely arrived bang on 40weeks at home in water.

    I’m now expecting our 4th, and am in no hurry at all to get this baby out of me. I will be standing firm and what ever cards they try to pull on me, I will wait to go into labour naturally. This is my last baby and it has taken 3 prior pregnancies to learn that you ultimately have the last say. I feel perfectly safe and have a foetal monitor at home to ease my mind so I can keep an eye on baby’s heart rate.

    I do get sick of certain medical professionals trying to act like God, trying to pressure, bully and scare women into decisions that they think are safer, just because they are not in control. I like in the uk and quite often wish I had private medical cover, then I could afford to hire an independent midwife who would support my decisions.

  35. So, then knowing this how do I get my ob/gyn to let me go past 41 weeks if I need to? In my birth plan I requested to go to 42 weeks (even though I’ve never gone past 40 weeks with my first 3 babies), and my ob flat told me no he wouldnt let me go to 42, he would let me go to 41 and only if my amniotic fluid levels stayed good. I get the low fluid= bad environment for baby. But I’ve never had an issue with my fluid before. I guess that’s a bridge that I will have to cross when we get there. I’m worrying for nothing because we aren’t there yet lol. I can always refuse induction I suppose- they can’t force me to go to the hospital…I just have a gut feeling that this baby will be going over the regular 40 for some reason.

    1. To repeat the quote I’ve seen floating around lately “The question isn’t who is going to ‘let’ me, it’s who is going to stop me!” I loathe the fact that so many care providers even have the audacity to tell a patient (ANY patient) what they will or will not “let” them do, as if the right to consent belongs to them. That authority does not belong to them, plain and simple. I think they are so accustomed to people consenting without question that they’ve come to genuinely believe that it IS their authority to allow or disallow. Perhaps a polite reminder? LOL. I suppose the nature of the patient/provider relationship and the provider’s personality would determine how they’d react to being politely reminded who the right of consent belongs to 🙂

  36. I’ve never had much faith in OBGYN’s estimates of gestation length.

    My first son was given 4 different “due” dates because of my irregular cycle and his slower-than-average growth. The first was November 27, based on my LMP. At the first ultrasound, they readjusted it to December 8, which lined up well with the day I thought I had conceived. They changed it again later when he was measuring younger than they thought he should. He was finally born on January 27, which was 45 weeks 2 days, according to the latest EDD I had been given, weighing in at 7lbs15oz.

    My 2nd living son came on his own 3 days after the EDD. With the 3rd, my water began to leak with contractions at 36 weeks; he was born at 37.

    It’s nice to finally learn, after 8 pregnancies and 6 live births, another of the many ways in which truly old-fashioned care of women is superior to the methods employed by modern medicine.

  37. This is a very sensitive subject for me as well since the argument over when I was actually due caused a very traumatic birth experience with my first. The sad part was I WAS informed and the docs wouldn’t listen to me. I had to fight an emotional and logical battle every four hours with them while I was in labor. I had to beg my husband not to do anything at one point because I could tell he was ready to fight. It cause my labor to start and stall so many times and my MIL at one point upbraided a pediatrician in the hall for talking inappropriately to a laboring woman (me) because all she could talk about was how likely it was they were going to have to airlift the baby to the NICU across the water and I’m endangering my baby by refusing induction (or augmentation at that point) being at 42.5 weeks. Needless to say, I was in labor from Thursday morning until Saturday noon. It was some 50 hours of active labor all because of the phsycological warfare I was undergoing in the meantime.
    I don’t hate doctors or modern medicine anymore, but I’ve definitely learned to put them in their place. And G-d is not one of those positions.
    P.S. I had my other three at home, completely natural, unassisted with my guardian, my love, my only trusted friend, my husband.

  38. Loved this. My oldest was born at 41+3, they were going to induce me on his bday but I was already contracting and dilated, my water broke and he was born at 8lbs 12oz, only 45mins after water break! My 2nd was early, by both my calculations and EDD – born at 39+3, he was a smaller 7lbs 14oz and I begged them to break my water since I was so exhausted and in pain. Again, born 45mins after water breaking.

  39. I was induced at 41 weeks with my first. I listened to the doctor and got induced. Well my baby was in distress and had a bowel movement while I was being induced. I didn’t know any better but was told that’s why they shouldn’t be in the womb past the due date. With my second pregnancy I had a terrible time trying to get in and out of bed and my sciatica hurt constantly that I asked the doctor if they could induce me a week early! Yikes wish I knew then what I know now…I am currently 6 weeks preggo with my third baby and believe me this time I want to have my baby natural and let him/her come when ready!

  40. It seems to me that for those women that do have hospital or birth centre births that a lot inductions are based on policy as well… I guess that EDD’s are seen in different ways by different health professionals… Personally I don’t see any issues with letting someone go to 42 + weeks providing that babes is happy and healthy but I do believe there is many times where issues with the placenta or other problem arise and induction is a better… That and cases where it is a bigger baby because I’d rather be induced early and have a baby vaginally than need a caesarean… That being said both of my babes were born at 39+1 four and a half years apart so it definitely depends on the mother too…

  41. First of all if u want control over birthing and do not like your OB advice then don’t use a OB. Or find one you trust to make the right choice with you. At the end of the day this articles missed point such as health risk to mother and child. What about a women who can’t control her diabetes towards the end of the pregnancy and has had medical intervention. What about low fuild and the risk if a dry birth, what about twin pregnancy issues, and the list goes on. If u do not like hospitals then home birth. The thing is you do have some control over what happens and how you birth. Go to a health care provider that you trust. I had the worse birthing experence with my first. My two pregnany’s after that I went to a private OB I trusted and ask 100 question everytime I saw him. It was so postive because of the trust. I think people have more control over there health care providers then they think which can make a huge difference. Keep in my also ob are at huge risk themsevles if pregnancy does’t go well. So make options that suit you with a health care provider and the best outcome is a healthy baby because not all parents are lucky enought to have a liveng baby at the end of the experence. Again home birth if u do not like hospital’s, OB. ect. I all for choices for women and birthing. I perferrer my own experence of hospital and trusted OB but it not for everyone. Now there is programs to help people birth the way they want if they do not like it.

  42. I love this article. I have had 6 kids, all grown up now, but I had a fight on my hands cause I carry longer than 40 weeks. My first was brought on at 42, my second went on for 43 weeks and finally I went into hospital and given an enema which did the trick. I did not want to interfere with naturel. All by babies were born healthily, two at home, they all weighed between 7lbs and 9.5lbs, natural births all of them.

  43. You absolutely right!
    My babies birth 42+ weeks and that is the right time
    For them. My son was forced out by hospital induction at 40+10 days and my daughter was born naturally at home at 42+4, no drugs, no intervention.

  44. My first son was born at 36 weeks 1 day. With out the Pitocin he probably wouldn’t have survived. My water broke early in the morning but was very light. Being my first pregnancy, I just figured it was normal discharge for 36 weeks. I went to work and worked a full 8 hour day on my feet. By the time I got home the “discharge” was much heavier and I went to the hospital to make sure we were okay. I had no amneotic fluid left. They had to incduce me. I never had any contractions until after they gave me the Pitocin.
    My second son was born with Gastroschisis, at 38 1/2 weeks. Again they had to use the Pitocin, because of the complications with him.

    While I agree that it is best to let nature run it’s course, I also feel that in some cases medicine is needed to help nature.

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