Now There Are New Guidelines for Estimating Due Dates

Getting your due date is like the ultimate countdown—everything from setting up your nursery to having your baby shower to scheduling doctor's appointments all revolves around that big day. And now, a group of medical societies have come together to provide specific recommendations for determining a mom-to-be's due date in order to ensure the best prenatal care for mom and baby.

The guidelines, which aim to standardize how health care providers determine a pregnant woman's due date, were released on Monday by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other pregnancy-related medical societies. A news release outlined the following guidelines:

  • "High-quality ultrasound measurement of the embryo or fetus in the first trimester is the most accurate method to establish or confirm gestational age.

  • "If a pregnancy resulted from assisted reproductive technology (ART), the ART-derived gestational age should be used to assign the estimated due date (EDD). For instance, the EDD for a pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization should be established using the age of the embryo and the date of the transfer.

  • "As soon as data from the last menstrual period (LMP), the first accurate ultrasound examination, or both are obtained, the gestational age and the EDD should be determined, discussed with the patient, and documented clearly in the medical record.

  • For the purposes of research and surveillance, the best obstetric estimate, rather than estimates based on the LMP alone, should be used as the measure for gestational age.

  • "Subsequent changes to the EDD should be reserved for rare circumstances, discussed with the patient, and documented clearly in the medical record."

Accurate estimated due dates determine "quality prenatal care, which includes timing of obstetric care, scheduling and interpretation of antepartum tests, and evaluation of fetal growth," and also help to prevent pre- and post-term births, the news release states.

"For some women, especially ones with early labor or other complications in the past, like a prior vertical cesarean incision, having an accurate due date is very important for making safe plans for care during their current pregnancy and for timing delivery," Dr. Joshua A. Copel, ACOG's Liaison Member from AIUM, said in the release.

Just find out that you're expecting? Try out our due date calculator.

It can be hard to know when those contractions are the real thing. Here are some tips to help you figure out whether you are actually in labor or whether you're experiencing false labor symptoms.

Photo of calendar courtesy of Shutterstock.


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