Have you been to a prenatal appointment and seen a provider pull this out?
It’s the fortune teller of birthdays! Just kidding, it’s called a pregnancy wheel. It helps predict how far along in pregnancy you are by referring to the start date of your last period. It will give you an exact date 42? Weeks from your menstrual cycle that your baby will enter the world.
But did you know, only 5% of babies are born on their term date? Many parents can get wrapped up in the idea that baby has to wait until this exact date +/- 24 hours and if baby is late then intervention has to begin! Yet this isn’t true, as some doctors, media, and other parents may state.
Let’s Dig In
Babies develop and grow at their own rate. If you’re making popcorn, will all the kernels pop at once, even though they started at the same time? Every kernel will pop when it’s at the correct temperature, just so a baby will know when to initiate labor when it’s fully developed. It is key that the baby is fully developed, as the lungs and brain are some of the last organs to fully develop before life outside of the womb. When intervention occurs, such as ARM (amniotic rupture of membranes), Pitocin, or other ways to initiate birth, these can sometimes lead to a cascade of further interventions. Baby knows when it is ready to be born, and labor can begin naturally without interventions.
So while it’s great to have a due date to help plan prenatal appointments, helping new grandparents and other relatives to know when to fly in if they are out of state, and help YOU prepare and get to know your baby, know that you do not need to worry if baby comes earlier or later by two weeks or so.* If there are medical complications, or if you have any questions at all, be in touch with your provide about your health or baby’s health.
*when to worry about ? look to Cochrane.