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What is the Point of Due Dates?

I find myself starting to wonder why we continue to use due dates. Not just because the accuracy of this fantasy date our pregnancy is supposed to magically end at is drilled into the minds of women as an eviction date, but also because providers all over the country don’t bother to pay any mind to them at all.

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about an epidemic of premature births taking place on my due in May 2011 board, and in the past two weeks, it has not slowed any. We have more babies, more NICU stays, more medical conditions, and of course more mothers looking for ways to induce themselves naturally at home because their provider won’t medically induce them.

But there are also a handful of women who have gotten their wish and found their provider will induce them early because they are uncomfortable or miserable. Can you imagine what kind of problems all the babies of the world would have if we induced labor or delivered a baby every time a pregnant woman was uncomfortable?!

But one of the larger problems is the inaccuracy of due dates today. Let’s face it, unless you know the exact date you had sex because you only do it once a month, or had some type of IVF or fertility treatment, the chance your due date is going to be spot on is not that good.

In fact, even with early ultrasounds there is a window of error up to 10 days in either direction. Of course most American women aren’t told this. Once the third trimester rolls around, they are so eager to get that baby out and to be comfortable again that they are pissed off when they actually make it to their due date.

What if due dates just didn’t exist… I mean, really… we don’t use them properly, so what would be the big deal?  We would have less mothers going out of their way in the comfort of their own home with the assistance of google to see what all natural way they could evict their baby or induce labor on their own, and we would actually have babies coming when they are ready unless there is a medical need for intervention.

Too much emphasis is put on one specific date in a pregnancy, which often isn’t accurate, and typically the baby won’t come on.

I say… we do away with due dates… give out due months… or due time frames. It would probably be much better off for mothers, and their sanity!

photo: flickr.com/cathyse97

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