Do babies come on their due dates?
This was the question on my mind during the later stages on my pregnancy in the spring of 2010. I heard a lot of conflicting information about what a "due date" meant and when babies were born. Some people saw the "due date" like a deadline... if the baby hasn't arrived yet, it's late, it's time to freak out. Some people said due dates were a bad example of western intervention, used by doctors as an excuse to cut us all open. Some people said that first time moms should expect to go late, it's normal and you should chill out. I found some scattered statistics about what week babies came... and a lot of those graphs just said "X% were born at 40 weeks" but didn't explain what that meant (during the 40th week of pregnancy? 40 weeks accomplished? On day 280?). And trust me if you're pregnant, you start counting DAYS when that time comes around. There is a huge difference between 40 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 5 days.
I was unable to find great data that satisfied me. So, armed, with a website, I started running a simple survey about due dates. If you've had a baby, please take it!
So far the survey has had 11825 participants, and I've put together these pages of charts that show interesting things I've learned from the results. I am not a mathematician, so there's no in-depth statistical analysis. I'm an engineer, web programmer, and (as of 2010) mom. When I started the survey I was just a very very pregnant woman wondering when my baby was going to show up.
This first intro page is all about the methods used and why I think it's valid. If you don't care about the background, just want to see the dang averages, skip to this page or pick one of these:Due date statistics: A study on the length of pregnancy
For reference, here's the very basic plot of who took the survey:
I was unable to find daily breakdowns of when births occur, but there have been other studies about due date accuracy. I think the data is hard to find because the medical community has accepted the fact that it's impossible to exactly predict when a baby will show up, so they're okay with just knowing about when it happens, and us pregnant women are also urged to be okay with just knowing about when it will happen. But if you're a geek like me who loves statistics, that's tough.
All these studies describe the length of pregnancy in days. For reference, 280 days = 40 weeks = 9 months 6 days.
The length of human pregnancy as calculated by ultrasonographic measurement of the fetal biparietal diameter (H. Kieler, O. Axelsson, S. Nilsson, U. Waldenströ) has a very nice table of 10 published studies, which found various means between 272-283 days. The authors contribute their own results as well, recording over 800 mothers who went into labor spontaneously. When pregnancy length was calculated using ultrasound in the second trimester the mean was 280.6 days, standard deviation 9.7 days. When it was calculated using LMP, the mean was 283.6 days with a standard deviation of 10.5 days.
A study from the Swedish birth registry involving 427,582 singleton pregnancies the mean, median and modal durations of pregnancies were 281, 282 and 283 days respectively. The standard deviation was 13 days. This study did not consider whether labor was medically induced or not. (Duration of human singleton pregnancy—a population-based study, Bergsjφ P, Denman DW, Hoffman HJ, Meirik O.)
A 1999 study of over 17,000 spontaneous deliveries stated that due dates are more accurate if we add 282 days to LMP instead of 280 (Evaluation of ultrasound-estimated date of delivery in 17,450 spontaneous singleton births: do we need to modify Naegele's rule? Nguyen TH, Larsen T, Engholm G, Møller H.)
A 2003 London-based study of over 122,000 pregnancies with spontaneous onset of labor (except they call it "labour" because, well, you know) found that average gestational age at delivery was 40 weeks for white Europeans but only 39 weeks for members of the black and asian ethnic groups. I chose not to ask for ethnicity or race in my survey because it's so hard to define, so many people are a combination of races, but the study is interesting. Another note: it was made up entirely of first time ("nulliparous") mothers. (International Journal of Epidemiology 2003;33:107–113 Roshni R Patel,Philip Steer,Pat Doyle,Mark P Littleand Paul Elliott)
And finally there's this 1990 Harvard study called The length of uncomplicated human gestation (Mittendorf et al). The study looked at 31 first-time moms at one private practice to conclude that their average due date was eight days early. That's not a very big sample size, which I think is why it's the only study that found 288 days as the median. I really wish people would stop bringing it up, but it seems to be popular so I'll just say if you want to read it and come to your own conclusions, it's here.
Come on people, if 288 days was really the median that means that more than half of all pregnancies would end past 41 weeks... seems like we would have noticed something like that by now.
There is good weekly data from the CDC that talks about birthweight and weight gain and inductions and all kinds of good stuff. But it's not the daily breakdown I wanted, and it doesn't break down weekly stats by whether the births were spontaneous or induced.
It became apparent to me by reading studies that no matter what factor people added into consideration, it was still impossible to predict the start of labor. Even IVF patients, who know the HOUR their baby was created, don't get accurate due dates. So I see no point in taking all these factors into consideration, if it's going to be a range of dates lets just all throw whatever randomness we have into the pot and see what the range is. Several studies and my survey have found that there's a standard deviation of over a week... this makes the bell curve pretty flat on top. Moving a due date a day up or back based on ovulation really makes no difference because all the dates around 40W are almost equal in terms of your probability of going into labor.
Science wasn't really my goal. By that I mean I'm not terribly interested in how the human body works... I'm interested in how life is for women like me. The women who are reading this and visiting my website are mostly internet users from english-speaking countries... well, so are my survey participants. I see that as a good thing.
That said, even if it's not scientific the fact that the results are matching real scientific studies mean that I must be doing something right. The studies mentioned a few paragraphs above here seem to support the fact that the 280 day mean, 9-10 day standard deviation is the norm... well that's what my results show too. I think if the big numbers about the curves are correct than the little details are likely to be correct also.
Twin births make things slightly out of the norm, so they are not included in the chart. This excludes 96 results. I didn't really ask good survey questions for twins anyway. If you are pregnant with twins and looking for data, there's a good survey going over here.
In addition, around 200 results I started noticing a big spike in the number of babies born on their due date. I believe this is because women who have their babies on their due dates are more likely to remember it, and be enthusiastic about taking a survey. To account for this I've capped the number of results shown at exactly 40 W, and 281 results are excluded.
Due Date Survey DataDue date statistics: A study on the length of pregnancy
Probability of delivery resulting from spontaneous labor after 35 weeks
Probability of delivery within x days of a given date
Length of pregnancy by week
Spontaneous labor and due date determination
Length of pregnancy, comparing subsequent births for individual moms
Length of pregnancy for first time vs. second & third time moms
Length of pregnancy, type of delivery
Gestation vs. Birthweight
Probablity of Induction after a given day
Average day of spontaneous labor vs. age of mother at time of birth
Are more babies born during a full moon?
What's the most common day of the week for babies to be born?
I'm still pregnant at 40W. What's it mean?
Do winter babies arrive later?
What if I know my conception date?
Are boys or girls born later?
Subsequent pregnancy date search
How do inductions bias the due date statistics?
Survey input dates
More ResourcesPregnancy Day-by-Day
Fast pregnancy calendar
Baby age calendar
EDD Icon Generator
Jo's Birth Story
Weeks vs. Months Explained
Charts generated by flot
I could see saunas becoming an obsession for a number of very social reasons as well, depending on your family's sauna practices. I honestly can't think of any common themes or rituals shared by all branches of my U.S. family, other than like eating together, but that seems too banal(/essential for survival) to really become an obsession. My Finnish family, on the other hand, all sauna as a social ritual. Whether or not you allow your kid in saunas yet, if there's a lot of exposure to the ritual, they could probably pick up on the social importance. It might make sense that kids are probably wired to pick up on things that the adults in their life think are important (**not a child psychologist**).
<...> I know I was super into the instant evaporation of water and associated *hissssss* the first time I was in a sauna at like age seven.
This is an excellent point. And although I know they exist, I haven't encountered any Finns who don't like sauna. There are a lot of steps to it. The kid gets to help their grandfather build the fire when we're together, knows that wood burning saunas are better than electric saunas, and absolutely loves the sound of the water hitting the hot stones. I can't imitate the sound as well as the kid does.
It's about teaching children to make love so that they do it themselves. Love has no age or genetic requirement. It's healthy for young siblings to make love, and it's unhealthy if they don't. Sexual repression of children fucks them up as adults. Because the parents are secretive about it, children get the idea that it's bad, which starts the process of sexual repression.
Gross. Yuck. Eww. I've run out of ways to express how disgusted I am with what you've said here. Ewwwwwww!!!!!!!
No, siblings should not make love. It is in our genetic interest that we don't do this. Ever. This is a cultural universal.
I think a big driver in getting them to read is to find stories that they like.
Definitely this. I once tutored a kid who had been held back twice in elementary school and was still a couple grade levels behind on reading skills. He was given a book from the
One of my cousins kids read the Warriors series and was really into it. She was bulllied in school, but I don't think it was instigated by her reading choices.
I don't know any recent books for this age group but I've heard great things about the Adventure Time comics.
^That's funny because the bjorn carrier is the one I was given that I didn't like. I think that just re-emphasizes that the same thing isn't going to work the same for everyone.
I do find it very interesting to find that IKEA is recalling furniture because people don't secure it to walls... I was given anchors with all of the stuff I've bought from there. Though maybe that's only a somewhat recent thing? It was over a half a year ago that I bought stuff from there, though.
And I didn't use the anchors... I guess I am about to be an aunt and it might be a good idea to get that stuff secured in case I ever end up watching my niece here. Hadn't really worried about it prior because there was literally never going to be a time I'd have kids running around this place. The likelihood of my niece ever being here is pretty damn low too, but I wouldn't say 0%.
Thank you! I'm currently stuck under 20lbs of sleeping baby because all day time naps have to be in my arms or they don't happen.
Mental health issues will never start to hurt, therefore no preemptive treatment is needed.
Mental health issues hurt, take it from me. There are many psychosomatic disorders out there which affect your body even though the real problem is in your mind. But to get better, you HAVE to treat both. Pre-emptive treatment also can stop some disorders from becoming too bad. And yes, sometimes drugs can be very very helpful.
I don't think you know what you're talking about and all this "I know because of divine intuition" bullshit is starting to piss me off. if you ask others for sources, be kind enough to provide some yourself.
If this thread continues to be shit-slinging, I will lock it.
oh, lord, i am so tired of people telling me to "enjoy it!" regarding my newborn. and asking me if she is a "good baby." how could a baby be bad? and how does it make me enjoy her more to be reminded to do so? i imagine that if i was depressed and had a colicky baby these questions would be even more obnoxious.
We sort of went middle-of-the-road. In the beginning, we had the sidecar cosleeper, and that worked great. Baby woke up a lot at night because he was a newborn, but I could pick him up, feed him, and put him back down without getting out of bed. He seemed to pretty much only be waking up if he was hungry, and settled pretty well after that, so all was good with the world (yes, there were nights when we'd have to get up and bounce on the yoga ball for a while, but we never had the horrific newborn nights that we seem to hear about where he was inconsolable at 2am). He started sleeping longer stretches and was sleeping one 8-9 hour stretch per night by the time he was two months old.
Around 3 months as he started getting more sensitive to noise, our nighttime rustlings would wake him up -- and if it wasn't my husband or me rustling it was the dog, who also sleeps in our room. It got to the point where I was so worried about someone waking him up that if I heard anyone moving in the night I'd instantly be alert and ready to murder someone if the baby woke up, and then even if the baby didn't wake up I was all keyed up and would have trouble falling back asleep. So for about a month, I moved myself to the floor of the baby's room. He transitioned easily into the crib, but I slept on the floor of his room every night and fed him when he woke up hungry.
My statement was meant to indicate that I'm not finished with my thoughts on this topic, rather than to create drama.
I believe parents in this world universally make a big mistake when it comes time to start thinking about their children using the toilet. Kids feel forced to do it, and this breeds resentment and damages their self-esteem. Having the father (the mother is needed in the battle against the patriarchy) stay home with the children and homeschool them while they haven't yet decided to train themselves is the way to avoid humiliation by their more-repressed peers.
I would also like to point out that limiting elimination to the toilet at any age creates situations where the person's health is compromised due to the lack of availability of a bathroom. In these situations, I strongly advise parents to let their children wear diapers no matter their age. Retention can lead to kidney stones, intestinal damage, urinary tract infections and harmful bacteria and toxins in the bloodstream.
FB pic is the best idea. All your friends and relatives can definitely post in comments or expressions . Consider yourself lucky to have many children. They are a blessing from God
Sorry, if I was not able to mention other details. Actually, I have a (US) medicare insurance. And I am particularly referring to this denial management software which help clients with their claims. Thanks for your reply.
One of my friends is part of this magazine. She didn't write this one but it's pretty hilarious.
http://theoffingmag.com/wits-end/pregna ... cool-moms/
Anyone want to come up with our own "Guidebook" titles?