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So...When Is My Baby Due? Let's Talk About Guess Dates

Due dates are really just guesses, which is why I prefer to use the term guess date. In my going on 6 years as a birth doula, I have had only one baby come "on time" at exactly 40 weeks! JUST ONE!

Due dates can be misleading, because the truth is, you actually have a 4-week window (a whole damn month) around that guess date! You can deliver anytime between 37-42 weeks, some will go a little earlier, some a little later. That's why learning to listen to your body during pregnancy is important, that why you will understand the cues your little one is sending you when the time comes for them to arrive.

Typically, your "due date" is 280 days (40 weeks) or almost 10 months - we call these lunar months - which is measured from the first day of your last period. Again, most women will deliver between 37-42 weeks (259-294 days) IF YOU HAVE A 28-DAY CYCLE. Not everyone does!

If you have periods that are irregular or they are not 28 days apart, your due date will likely be different from the "280-day rule". Unfortunately, many providers will just assume your cycle is regular, especially if you have never mentioned having issues to them before. If you have irregular periods, bring it up! If you want a more accurate guess date, your provider can order an ultrasound. But even ultrasounds won't be exact, they can only estimate the fetal age within 7-10 days.

I can say in my experience with clients, that most moms will have babies that arrive a little "late". Typically around 2-5 days after the guess date.

However, in my own personal experience this was NOT the case. My son arrived 10 days "early" at 38.5 weeks. Rumor also has it that your second baby will follow a similar path as the first. Again, for me this was NOT the case. My daughter took her time and came at 41 weeks. So really, anything goes!

It's important to know the science behind labor. It's a long process and can get a little complicated, but the very beginning piece is actually quite simple. When your baby is ready to be born, something magical happens within both of your bodies. Your little one will release a hormone that signals your body and lets it know that their lungs are ready to function outside of the womb. Amazing right? If you want to geek out over the science behind it, you can check out this study. You can super nerd it with this study!

Here are a few signs that baby might be on the way:

- Your baby drops (your belly looks lower)

- You have the urge to clean and prep for baby AKA nesting

- You feel more pelvic pressure

- You are more "juicy" down there

- You feel EXTRA overwhelmed with emotions (excitement, fear, worry)

- Your stomach feels like it tightens in the center

- Braxton Hicks contractions

- Real contractions

- You lose your mucus plug (could be a week, days, hours)

- Your water breaks (baby is def coming!)

Our goal is to wait for your baby to arrive on it's own and avoid getting induced, which can will lead to unnecessary c-section. If you can avoid it and there is no medical need, don't hurry your baby's birthday. When they are ready, they will arrive!

I will have a blog on what to do when your baby is past your guess date coming soon, stay tuned :-)

53 views2 comments


Keiana Chisholm
Keiana Chisholm
Apr 25, 2022

Great post! My due date is different based on what I believe the due date should be and what the US due date is. Which one is more accurate?

Nicky Dawkins
Nicky Dawkins
Jun 03, 2022
Replying to

You know your body best! Follow the lunar months and adjust based on your cycle length 🩸

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