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Pregnancy: Ways to Find Your Due Date - Topic Overview

Your doctor can use several methods to estimate how long you have been pregnant. These methods can give an estimate of when you are likely to deliver your baby (due date). The due date is only an estimate of when you will deliver. Most women deliver within 14 days of their due date.1

Methods for estimating the length of your pregnancy and your due date include:

  • Determining the first day of your last menstrual period.
  • Measuring the size of your uterus.
  • Using ultrasound testing.

Last menstrual period

The most common method of calculating your due date is by taking the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), adding 7 days, and then counting backward 3 months. For example, if your LMP started on March 20, you would add 7 days to get March 27, and then subtract 3 months to get a due date of December 27.

Another way to estimate your due date is to add 40 weeks to the first day of your last menstrual period.

If you want help calculating your due date, use the Interactive Tool: What Is Your Due Date? calculator.gif

Size of uterus

Around 12 weeks of pregnancy, the top of the uterus (fundus) can be felt above the pelvic rim. At 20 weeks, the fundus will be about as high as your umbilicus (belly button). After about 18 weeks, the distance between the pubic bone and the fundus (in centimeters) is likely to be about the same as the number of weeks since your last period.

Although fundal height is sometimes used to get a rough idea of how far along a pregnancy is, it isn't an accurate way of predicting estimated gestational age. There are a number of factors that can make the fundal height seem higher or lower than expected, such as the fetus's position or the presence of a uterine fibroid.

Ultrasound testing

If you are not certain about your last menstrual period or if the size of your uterus does not generally correspond to the estimated length of your pregnancy, an ultrasound exam may be ordered to find out your due date. Ultrasound testing is an accurate method of finding out how long you have been pregnant, especially if it is done before 20 weeks of pregnancy.2 Some doctors do an ultrasound routinely in early pregnancy.

During an ultrasound test, a small instrument is moved back and forth over your abdomen. The instrument sends out sound waves that bounce off the fetus. The sound waves are converted by a computer into a picture of the fetus that is displayed on a TV screen.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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