When is your baby due? This is one of the first questions you will face from loved ones and strangers alike when you are pregnant. Determining the due date of your pregnancy, or the estimated delivery date (EDD) as we call it, means more than knowing what sign your child will be born under. It is vital to a healthy delivery.
An accurate due date is key to preventing pre- and post- term births and their related problems. Premature birth is associated with complications for the baby - postdate births pose different issues for baby and mom. An accurate due date is also key to evaluating fetal growth rate during the pregnancy. Inadequate growth is a serious issue for baby. Timing of obstetric care, especially knowing when it is necessary to induce labor (or NOT!) is best managed when a precise due date is known.
So, how does one accurately determine a due date? Traditionally, due date was calculated based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). However, only approximately 50% of women can recall that date accurately. Differences in menstrual cycles and time of ovulation also leads to variability in the age of the pregnancy when based solely on LMP. This leaves a lot to guesswork… Enter: ultrasound.
In October of 2014, several groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued guideline recommendations for the use of ultrasound in determining due date. This is most accurately done in the first trimester (prior to 14 weeks). Ultrasound measures fetal length, from which your due date can be accurately derived.
So, once you are pregnant, for the best health for you and your precious baby know your due date with accuracy! Ultrasound in the first trimester can help keep you and your pregnancy on the path to good health.
Originally published 12/12/14 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.