Due Date CalculatorOur due date calculator calculates your estimated due date from your last period, conception or ovulation date.
About Due Date Calculators
A due date calculator calculates your estimated due date (EDD) which is an ESTIMATE of the day you are likely to go into labor spontaneously (without medical intervention). Only about 4% of babies are born on their estimated due dates but the majority (70%) are born within 10 days either side of their due dates.
The Estimated Due Date (EDD) is an important date for pregnant women and their health care providers as it sets benchmarks for the pregnancy as well as an estimate of when baby is due.
The estimated due date is also known as the estimated date of confinement (EDC).
On This Page
- How Estimated Due Dates are Calculated
- Due Date Calculator Formula
- Why Pregnancy is Counted from the Last Menstrual Period
- How Long is Pregnancy
- Naegele's Rule
- Pregnancy Wheels
- Adjusting for Short or Long Cycles
- Estimated Due Dates and Irregular Cycles
- Calculating EDD When Ovulation or Conception Date is Known
- Calculating Due Dates Following Fertility Treatment
- Problems with using a Due Date Calculator
- Ultrasound and Estimated Due Dates
- Revision of your Due Date
- Pregnancy Terms
- Limitations of the Due Date Calculator
How Estimated Due Dates are Calculated
Due dates can be calculated either by formula or from ultrasound measurements of the growing baby.
Formulas are quick and easy and can be used by anyone. However, ultrasound in the first trimester is the most accurate method for establishing or confirming a due date. In the US, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians has issued recommendations which define when it is appropriate to use an LMP formula to calculate an EDD and when an ultrasound based EDD should take precedence.
Due Date Calculator Formula
Due Date Formula:
LMP + 280 days = EDD
LMP = Last Menstrual Period
EDD = Estimated Due Date
Why Pregnancy is Counted from the Last Menstrual Period
The start of a woman's last menstrual period is an easy and observable starting point to start counting pregnancy from. For most women, pregnancy lasts around 280 days from their last menstrual period. This can be a little confusing since counting starts about two weeks before true pregnancy or conception begins. But it does provide a useful starting point for calculation of due dates and pregnancy progress.
How Long is Pregnancy
When counted from a woman's last menstrual period, pregnancy lasts around 280 days, or 40 weeks. A full term pregnancy lasts between 39 weeks through 40 weeks and 6 days. Preterm or premature babies are born anytime before 37 weeks. Early term pregnancy is from 37 weeks through 38 weeks and 6 days. Late term pregnancy is from 41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days. Finally post term pregnancy is from 42 weeks and beyond.
Actual length of pregnancy: The actual length of pregnancy varies considerably, even when conception is known. An estimated due date should be thought of as an indication of a range, or time frame, when baby might come.
Naegele's Rule and the History of the Due Date Calculator
The modern formula, LMP + 280 days = EDD, is based on a older formula called Naegele's Rule.
Naegele's Rule is named after the German professor of obstetrics who popularized the simple formula in the early 1800's. Naegele, in turn, credited a Dutch professor of botany and medicine (Herman Boerhaave) from the 1700's for its creation.
When Naegele's Rule was first created, the medical community didn't know when conception occurred so it made sense to measure pregnancy from the start of menstruation, a date easily observable to women. For two hundred years, generations of women have been given EDDs based on this simple and relatively reliable rule.
LMP + 7 Days - 3 Months = EDD
LMP = First day of the Last Menstrual Period
EDD = Estimated Due Date
Or you can apply the rule in the opposite direction:
LMP + 1 Year - 3 Months + 7 Days = EDD
LMP = First day of Last Menstrual Period
EDD = Estimated Due Date
EDDs calculated using Naegele's Rule differ slightly from each other depending on the particular months being counted but always result in a length of pregnancy that is close to or exactly 280 days.
A pregnancy wheel is a simple device traditionally used by obstetricians, doctors and midwives to calculate a woman's estimated due date and baby's gestational age. Pregnancy wheels are also available for purchase for home use.
Today, your obstetrician, doctor or midwife is more likely to use a computer calculator such as Weeksduringpregnancy.com's calculator. Pregnancy wheels and computer calculators are both based on LMP + 280 days.
Adjusting for Short or Long Cycles
Due dates based on formulas assume 28 day menstrual cycles. If a woman's cycle is shorter or longer than 28 days, a calculator can make the following adjustments to your due date:
Adjustments for a Short Cycle
If a woman's cycle is regularly shorter than 28 days, a calculator subtracts the difference from the Estimated Due Date.
If a woman's cycle is usually 24 days, a calculator subtracts 4 days from the EDD. If the EDD was October 7 with a 28 day cycle, it is now October 3 with a 24 day cycle.
Adjustments for a Long Cycle
Conversely, if a cycle is regularly longer than the presumed 28 days, a calculator adds the difference to the Estimated Due Date.
If a woman's cycle is 30 days, a calculator adds 2 days to the EDD. If the EDD was October 7 with a 28 day cycle, it is now October 9 with a 30 day cycle.
How to Calculate Cycle Length
To calculate how long your menstrual cycle is, count every day from the first day of bleeding until the day before the next bleeding. Include the first day of bleeding.
Period 1, bleeding begins January 1
Period 2, bleeding begins January 28
This is a standard 28 menstrual cycle.
However, if Period 2 begins on January 30, this would be a 30 day cycle.
The above methods of adjusting for cycle length are not always completely accurate and should only be used until an ultrasound is performed.
Estimated Due Dates and Irregular Cycles
If your cycles are not regular, using a due date calculator to calculate an estimated due date is not recommended. Your health care provider will provide an estimated due date based off an ultrasound measurement.
Calculating EDD When Ovulation or Conception Date is Known
An increasing number of women know their ovulation date. If you know yours, a due date calculator adds 266 days to your ovulation date to find your estimated due date.
Conception generally occurs shortly after ovulation (about 12 hours afterwards) so it is reasonable to use the date of ovulation as an approximate date of fertilization.
Calculating Due Dates Following Fertility Treatment
Fertility treatments fall into two main categories, those that involve handling of both egg and sperm and those which involve handling of sperm only. If your pregnancy is the result of fertility treatment, the way the estimated due date is calculated depends on the procedure used.
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
ARTs include a wide range of procedures but to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of ART, the procedure must involve handling of both egg and sperm. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an example of an ART. In IVF, an egg is fertilized outside the woman's body and the resulting embryo is then implanted into the woman's body.To calculate a due date if an embryo has been implanted,
Artificial insemination involves the implantation of sperm into the cervix or uterus. It is not an ART according to the CDC definition since it does not involve the handling of ova (eggs). Artificial insemination is a relatively simple procedure which may be carried out for various reasons including use of donor sperm. The object is to introduce sperm into the woman's body when she is most fertile; conception then occurs shortly after ovulation.To calculate the estimated due date,
Problems with using a Due Date Calculator
Despite the popularity of LMP formulas, they have a number of drawbacks.
Not all women ovulate on day 14 of their cycles.
A major problem with formula methods is the assumption that all women ovulate on day 14 of their cycles. This can result in the fetus appearing to be several days younger or older than it really is. Research shows that not all women ovulate on day 14, even those with regular 14 day cycles.
If a woman's cycles are irregular, the use of an LMP formula is not recommended.
Problems with LMP accuracy
Many women do not record their menstrual dates or may do so inaccurately. Also the date of the last period may be uncertain, for example, if bleeding was light; it may have been a period or it may have been bleeding occurring after conception.
If a woman has used hormonal birth control within two months of the LMP, use of the LMP method may not be accurate.
I Don't Know My LMP
Don't worry if you don't know the date of your last menstrual period or if you're not sure. You won't be able to use an LMP formula to calculate your own estimated due date but your medical practitioner will provide you with an EDD after your first ultrasound scan.
Ultrasound and Estimated Due Dates
During an ultrasound scan, measurements are taken of the growing baby and matched against recorded averages to obtain an estimated gestational age and due date. Calculating due dates from ultrasound measurement removes many of the problems associated with formula methods and when performed in the first trimester is considered the most accurate way to estimate due dates.
Revision of your Due Date
Following your ultrasound scan, your EDD may be revised if the ultrasound based EDD differs from the initial EDD by a designated amount for the gestational age of the fetus at the time of the scan.
In the earlier stages of pregnancy, fetal growth is relatively uniform. If your early pregnancy scan shows your baby is smaller or larger than expected, the difference may be attributed to baby's age being different than expected and you may be given a new EDD.
But as pregnancy advances, babies develop at different rates influenced by genetics, ethnicity, environment, and so on. Health care providers become increasingly reluctant to revise due dates based on fetal measurements since fetal size reflects a number of variables and not just fetal age. Due dates in later pregnancy are only revised when there is a significant difference between the LMP based EDD and the ultrasound based EDD, and even then, only upon careful consideration.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends adjustment of the initial EDD if the ultrasound based EDD differs by the following amounts.
|Gestational Weeks||Weeks and Days Since LMP||Difference Between LMP EDD and Scan EDD|
|Before 9 Weeks||Before 9 Weeks + 0 Days||More than 5 days|
|9 - 15 Weeks||9 Weeks + 0 Days - 15 Weeks + 6 Days||More than 7 days|
|16 - 21 Weeks||16 Weeks + 0 Days - 21 Weeks + 6 Days||More than 10 days|
|22 - 27 Weeks||22 Weeks + 0 Days - 27 Weeks + 6 Days||More than 14 days|
|28 Weeks or later||28 Weeks + 0 Days or later||More than 21 days|
Once an estimated due date has been set based on ultrasound measurements, it will rarely be changed since fetal growth is a reflection of healthy development as well as age.
Correct Usage of a Due Date Calculator
The 280 day formula is the appropriate method for calculating estimated due dates in the following instances:
Initial calculation of EDD: An initial due date is likely to be calculated at the initial prenatal appointment if a reliable LMP date is available. Following the first ultrasound scan, the EDD is then confirmed or revised as appropriate.
Assisted reproduction techniques: LMP + 280 days is the appropriate method for calculating estimated due dates when pregnancy is the result of an ART (assisted reproduction technique).
Other Ways Estimated Due Dates can be Calculated
Medical professionals may use other methods to estimate pregnancy progress and due dates. These include measurement of fundal height (measurement of the mother's belly), time of first heart - beat, time when mom first feels baby's movements, and time of the first positive pregnancy test. These clinical methods are of minor value compared to ultrasound assessment.
So When is my Baby Due?
Although it's good to have a date to look forward to, only a small percentage of babies (about 4%) actually come on the due date, with most coming within a week or two before or after the EDD.
Rather than hoping or expecting to have your baby on the EDD, in the US, clearly defined weeks of pregnancy reflect the optimal weeks for giving birth. As long as mom and baby are both doing well, research has shown that most babies do best when born at 39 or 40 Weeks' gestation.
Early Term, Full Term, Late Term, Post Term
Early Term: Baby has excellent survival chances if born now but further growth and development in the womb is best if baby and mother are both doing well.
Full Term: Baby is ready to be born. This is the best time for delivery in most cases.
Late Term: Your pregnancy will be monitored more closely now. You may be given the choice of waiting or being induced.
Post Term: You will continue to be monitored. Induction is very likely.
Defined Stages of Pregnancy
|Early Term:||37 Weeks + 0 Days through 38 Weeks + 6 Days|
|Full Term:||39 Weeks + 0 Days through 40 Weeks + 6 Days|
|Late Term:||41 Weeks + 0 Days through 41 Weeks + 6 Days|
|Post Term:||42 Weeks + 0 Days and beyond|
Estimated Due Dates are Only a Guide
Only a small number of babies are born on the due date; most will be born either before or after the estimated date. However the Estimated Due Date is a useful guide which gives everyone involved a rough idea of when baby is likely to come.
Limitations of the Due Date Calculator
Our calculator strives for the greatest accuracy however miscalculations or discrepancies in dates may occur due to miscalculation, incorrect input dates, and/or individual differences in cycle timing or rate of development, for example.
Results may not be reliable if you have taken oral contraceptives in the previous two months. The use of due date calculators is not recommended in this case.
Multiples: Do not use the due date calculator if you are carrying twins, triplets (or more). Your health care provider will calculate an estimated due date for your babies.
Assumptions Made By Due Date Calculators
This calculator assumes pregnancy lasts 266 days from ovulation/fertilization. It also assumes your menstrual cycle is regular, is 28 days long, and that your luteal phase is 14 days long.
Leap Years: Our due date calculator takes leap years into account when calculating EDDs in leap years.
- Committee Opinion No. 611. Method for estimating due date. Obstet Gynec. 124 (2014): 863-6. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000454932.15177.be
- Thomas Baskett and Fritz Nagele. Naegele's Rule: A reappraisal. A British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 107 (2000):1433 - 1435
- A. Jukic et al. Length of human pregnancy and contributors to its natural variation. Human Reproduction 28 (2013): 2848 - 2855. doi: 10.1093/humrep/det297
- Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). http://www.cdc.gov/art/whatis.html
- Committee Opinion No. 579. 2013. Definition of term pregnancy. Obstet Gynec. 122 (2013): 1139-40. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000437385.88715.4a
- Pregnancy: Know Your Terms. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/KnowYourTerms
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