Have you ever gone to an appointment and were asked "What was the first day of your last period?" Once you give your last cycle date you are given your due date. Do you feel like a time clock has been set? The stress of not knowing when the baby will come or even if you will give birth by then. I know a lot of women, especially a first time mom, expects to give birth on their given due date. I want to be the first one or even the only one to tell you "That isn't necessarily going to be the case." A child is considered full term between 37-42 weeks gestation. Additionally, you don't necessarily know exactly when you actually conceived.
When was my last cycle?
There are several reasons you may not know your estimate due date. Some women may not have had their period return yet after giving birth and find themselves pregnant again. Others may experience a cycle that is just all over the place. Or I mean you may just been like me and not remember when the last cycle started. It wasn't until I got a calendar app on my phone that I started to track it. Even then I'll be honest sometimes I forget to click the little button.
One of the reasons your period can be late is due to breastfeeding hormones. A period to be late or skipped all together and I love not having to worry for months after giving birth about a cycle. When I was breastfeeding each of my children my cycle returned after different lengths of times. (First child at 9 months, second at 8.5 months... Third? Well... At eleven months there is still no sign of my cycle.) Ovulation can also be delayed even after the return of your cycle. That is when basal temperature can come in handy to track fertility.
Of course we can't forget stress. Yup, stress can cause a cycle to start late making you think you may be pregnant. Stress can also actually make you forget that you missed your period all together. Next thing you know you are having pregnancy symptoms. Damn life and the stress it can bring.
Oh crap, am I pregnant?
You may be on your phone one day looking at the app you downloaded months ago and realize that you have now missed your period. That I guess would be the easy way to discover a pregnancy, but unfortunately that's not always the way it happens. A positive pregnancy test may be another easy way to know your dream is coming true.
Some possible signs of pregnancy and ways to know how far along you are... Your uterus typically rises out of your pelvis around 12 weeks (it's large enough not to fit anymore within the pelvis) and top of the uterus will be at belly button height at 20 weeks. My nausea started at approximately the same time with each pregnancy, within a week of the same time... So 5 weeks, and 6 weeks were the times for me. If women haven't been pregnant before those markers are usually pretty accurate -- 12 weeks to "pop", 20 weeks fundal height at belly button.
I think most women find out they are pregnant again and think they must be further than they are -- very few think "Oh maybe I'm pregnant" and are already 12 or 18 weeks along! (Though it does happen, surprisingly!)
Unassisted Due Date
You are probably thinking "Great now how do I know when my due date is." Well, one way is to just go with the flow. If you do know your last cycle date you can use the calculator to estimate your dates but remember this is an estimate. You don't know the actual dates and some babies need more time to grow and others are ready to be born soon. (Also consider, if you claim an earlier due date and your baby wants to bake longer, there will be stress and pressure on baby to come before he or she is ready!)
Fundal height is also a way to help calculate your weeks into pregnancy. Again, at about 20 weeks is probably the best time to start tracking. Fundal height should be pretty close to 20cm at 20 weeks, and track along with the weeks. (30cm is typically 30 weeks, etc.) Before 20 weeks this number is not quite as accurate... You may be smaller, or larger before then, and if you put too much mental energy into the measurement you can cause yourself undue stress. Check out this great freebie to help you track your unassisted pregnancy if you choose to go that route.