The Lie of the EDD (Estimated Due Date)

Considering how much is riding on the question of how long a pregnancy lasts, the history of “40 weeks of pregnancy” is interesting. It’s an example of truth being stranger than fiction, in my opinion. It’s a good example of something being a good servant, but a bad master.


6 Responses

  1. That’s very interesting. When I recently went two weeks past my due date, I had lots of comments from people about how strange it was and why didn’t I get induced. My catch phrase became, “We forget 40 weeks is an average, not a deadline,” and reminded them that people used to go 2 or 3 weeks “over” all the time. It is interesting to know that 41 weeks is actually closer to what the average should be.

    I also read recently that the average now is closer to 39 weeks, but that’s not a natural average; it’s because of all the scheduled inductions and c-sections.

  2. One caveat. If a woman is going past 40 weeks, do kick counts, do nsts. It will help to ensure the baby is OK in there.

    I agree that we don’t need to induce until 42 weeks. But an added security of an nst couldn’t hurt. My Daughter went 43 weeks. But now that I have practiced L&D nursing for some years, I would rather not risk delivery of a full term demise. And neither would any of the women who are pregnant with a term baby. So take some precautions.

    Also the Author of the first story is pursueing a degree in communications and has been writing for years. This tells me she has no medical background. And honestly, I think most people need some medical background to give out this type of advice. I would not take legal advice from someone who is not a lawyer, so I would not take medical advice from someone who does not pratice in the birth realm.

  3. Just read your second link. If I had 2 wishes for obstetrics they would be 1) Don’t break the water! It will break when it is good and ready and 2) Don’t induce before 41 and 5. But do kick counts and get an nst. One of my Doctor groups has the 41.5 rule and they have a lower c-section rate than the other groups.

  4. There is no medical advice from the author in that article that I can see. Unless educating about charting ones cycles to determine when they ovulate is considered medical advice. Or that babies usually come when they’re ready.

    The author notes ACOG’s guidelines, letting women know that they can rest assured that even ACOG doesn’t recommend interfering before 42 weeks. That piece of advice is from ACOG.

    Kathy, had you heard before this that the concept of ten lunar months came from the Bible? I’ve never heard that before.

    • Jill,

      No, I hadn’t heard before about the 10 lunar months & the Bible. But I do think that the standard “6 weeks after birth” postpartum checkup and resuming of sexual activity comes from the Bible — in the OT, a woman was considered “unclean” for 3 weeks after the birth of a child of one sex, and 6 weeks after the birth of a child of the other sex (forget which one it was — think the longer time was after the birth of a boy). Actually, 40 days, which is close enough to 6 full weeks.

  5. Hi ladies. Thought I’d chime in here – no, I do not have a medical degree. I have been studying childbirth issues for over a decade, due to my first being born by cesarean. I have birthed by surgery, with OBs, in the hospital with a CNM, and had two babies at home with CPMs. I’ve been active with ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) for 10 years as well.

    It doesn’t take a medical degree to read the research. Let’s face it, obstetricians supposedly read it themselves and still don’t practice evidence based pregnancy and birth care. However, I do appreciate the reminder to add a caveat to my pregnancy pieces stating that the information should not be construed as medical advice. Thank you for taking the time to read my work, it’s truly rewarding to know that it is at least causing women to think more about what they’re told by the OB!


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