Trying to conceive? If you want to plan your baby’s birth date, here’s how to go about it – although doctors warn that you can’t always guarantee the exact moment your bundle of joy will arrive.
Instead of leaving your delivery date up to nature, you’re thinking of an exact day or week to have your baby. This is not unusual – in fact, there may be several reasons why a woman may schedule her delivery date in advance, says Dr Christopher Ng, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at GynaeMD Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic at Camden Medical Centre.
“There might be medical reasons – for example, her doctor may induce labour because of foetal macrosomia, where her baby is bigger than average; or because she has poorly controlled diabetes or high blood pressure. Or, she may have an elective caesarean section because of existing problems with her pregnancy or because she doesn’t want to have a vaginal delivery.”
Some couples may also want to have their baby on an auspicious date or a date that has a special meaning to them. The delivery date may even be based on convenience – perhaps the confinement nanny will only be available at a specific time or the couple can only start their maternity and paternity leave during a particular period.
(Also read: What to eat if you are planning to get pregnant)
You can plan baby’s arrival date, but you can’t predict it
You can decide when you want to give birth, but Dr Ng says that due dates are difficult to predict – more so if you want to have a normal vaginal delivery, since the onset of spontaneous labour may occur anytime from 37 to 40 weeks into a term pregnancy.
Plus, there’s the possibility of going into preterm labour, something that is uncommon, but might occur if you have a past history of premature birth, have lower genital tract infections that may trigger premature contractions, are expecting multiple babies, have medical issues like high blood pressure or diabetes, or have problems with your cervix, uterus or placenta.
Bear in mind, too, that some women have post-date or post-term pregnancies, where they still don’t deliver by the 40-week gestation period. Dr Kelly Loi, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Health and Fertility Centre for Women at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, says that about five to 10 per cent of pregnancies go post-term.
If want to deliver during a particular month and are trying for a baby naturally, it’s important to know that your chances of having your baby in that month are only about 15 per cent, says Dr Loi.
However, if you’re undergoing fertility treatment with IVF (in-vitro fertilisation), planning the due date may be more feasible because you can select the time of embryo transfer according to when you want to have your baby.
“But while the success rate with IVF may be high following the embryo transfer, it’s still not 100 per cent guaranteed that you will deliver when you want,” Dr Loi adds.
How to schedule your due date
Dr Ng says that working backwards is useful. “For instance, if your period arrives on January 1 and you have a regular 28-day menstrual cycle, this means that your fertile period would be around mid-January. This is when you should be having regular intercourse. Assuming that you conceive during this time, your estimated date of delivery would be around October 7 – we get that date by adding 40 weeks to your last menstrual period.
“Realistically, ‘term’ means up to three weeks before the due date – in this case, mid-September to the first week of October, which is about when you can possibly go into spontaneous labour,” Dr Ng continues.
But remember that, even if you try to time everything out precisely, delivering when you want isn’t a sure thing. “My advice is not to plan so much because not all women can give birth exactly when they want and most end up disappointed, especially if they delayed falling pregnant for several months just so they could deliver on the date they wanted,” says Dr Ng.
Pregnancy tracker apps, websites to check out
These resources are useful if you have a delivery date in mind or are counting down to your baby’s arrival.
Use this website to count down to your little one’s due date, week by week and day by day. There are also useful pregnancy tips and foetal development videos for every stage of pregnancy, a contraction timer and even a baby kick counter. The Baby Center Pregnancy Tracker app is also available free on iOS and Android devices.
What To Expect
The Due Date Calculator helps you predict your due date using different calculation methods, such as your conception date, the first date of your last period, your IVF transfer date, and so on. You’ll also find useful tips and advice regarding screenings and tests, pregnancy complications, and labour and delivery. A popular pregnancy brand, What To Expect is also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.
Due Date View
Created by American media company Fertility Council, this app calculates your estimate delivery date for up to five different conception types, including Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Retrieval/Ovulation. Simply enter the conception type and select the date it occurred, The app will then display your estimated due date along with how many weeks and days you are into your pregnancy, the trimester you are in and how many days are have left until your due date. This free app is available for iOS devices.
Ovia Pregnancy Tracker
This baby due date countdown app helps you track your baby’s growth day by day. There’s also a calendar so that you can organise and keep a record of everything related to your pregnancy, from baby bump photos to medical appointments. This free app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Pregnancy Due Date Calculator & Calendar
Besides helping you calculate your due date, this app features an illustrated pregnancy calendar, which details all the changes taking place in your body and in your baby, week by week. Plus, it has a due date countdown so you can count the hours until your bub arrives. This free app is available for Android devices.
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