Knowing how to date a pregnancy is important because it impacts decisions made in the last month of pregnancy.
How to Date a Pregnancy
Pregnancy dating is based on the assumption that every woman has a 28 day cycle and that ovulation occurs on day 14.
Care providers also assume that every woman has a two week luteal phase.
Luteal Phase = A luteal phase is the period of time from ovulation until you get your period.
To calculate a due date simply add 38 weeks to the date you ovulated/conceived and that is your estimated due date.
However, the date of conception/ovulation isn’t always the day you had sex.
FACT: Did you know that sperm can live in your body for 5-6 days post intercourse? This means that the date of conception (which is when you ovulate) could be up to 6 days after you did the deed.
I got pregnant two times by having unprotected sex SIX days before I ovulated. TWO TIMES! The first resulted in a miscarriage but the second resulted in my beautiful daughter, Mercy.
In order to know the exact date of conception it’s important to know the exact date of ovulation instead of the exact day of intercourse.
Benefits of Using the Fertility Awareness Method
Since I chart and practice the Fertility Awareness Method I always know when I ovulate. Always. Even if I weren’t charting, I would know.
After years of paying attention to the signs of my fertility I cannot not know what is going on.
Because of this, when I get pregnant I always know how to date a pregnancy and what my true EDD (estimated due date) is. When I go in for an ultrasound and the baby isn’t measuring up to my dates I know something is very wrong.
For my most recent pregnancy, when I went in for an ultrasound and their measurements were spot on to mine I knew all was well.
I’m Not Calling It a Lie
Yes, some women have these regular text book cycles, but a lot of women do not. I am one of those women who absolutely, positively does not have a regular cycle. My cycles even differ from each other, month to month.
Because most care providers want a LMP (last menstrual period) date on the first appointment, instead of giving them my true LMP I subtract two weeks from my ovulation date so that they will calculate the same EDD as I do.
For example, during my second pregnancy my LMP was 2/29/2012 which made my EDD 12/5/2012 which was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Based on ovulation a more accurate due date was 12/13/2012.
If I went by my true LMP date I would be more than a week off!
Accurate EDD = Less Inductions
For all those mamas who have their babies after their due dates we all know how valuable that extra week of time is in order to avoid an induction.
(Update: I gave birth to my daughter on 12/12/12 and I guarantee you if I had the estimated due date of 12/5/12 induction would have been a topic of conversation between my care provider and I! Because I used my TRUE estimated due date we never even talked about it. Information is empowering!)
A Sense of Control
To know my true EDD and not have someone tell me also gives me a sense of control and empowerment. I like to inform doctors of my body, and not them inform me of it instead.
If this article was a little hard to understand I recommend reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility so that you can understand what in the world I’m talking about. 🙂 It will change your life!
The moral of this story is to educate yourself. Know your body, your cycles and give yourself the upper hand by knowing your true estimated due date (EDD) before you see your care provider. Knowing how to date a pregnancy correctly is a game changer.
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