Sunday, June 30, 2013

Maternity Math

Things you may hear about how long you're pregnant:
- 40 weeks
- Nine months
- Ten months
- Forever (oh wait, that's just me loving being pregnant. :-/ )

All of those are true, but really none of them are.

Forty weeks is based off first day of last menstrual period. But you're not actually pregnant for all of that. That assumes a perfect 28 day cycle (what is that?) with ovulation on day 14. So really you're only pregnant for 38 weeks, but because when you ovulated is hard for most people to pin down, it's easier to make the little spinny charts using last menstrual period.

But. Some of us are special and can tell you pretty much exactly when we ovulated. (Yay, science!) So really, it's more accurate to just count 38 weeks from then, right? Either way, now we've figured out my due date (September 8th ish, depending on what method you use). Go us. And now that I finally look pregnant and not just like I've put on a few pounds, people are asking how far along I am.

Ah, "how far along are you?" Here's the thing. Most people don't want it in weeks. I get that. I was that. To me, the difference between 12 weeks and 14 weeks wasn't that big. (IT IS NOW, for that's when the puking stopped. Mostly.) They want it in months. No one really has any idea how long 27 weeks is, unless they are or recently have been pregnant. It's just a weird measurement.

For months, most people just divide weeks along by 4 (which, incidentally, is how they come up with ten months, since 40 weeks/4 is 10 months), but do we live in some magical land of year-round Februarys? Nay, our months vary anywhere from 4.29 to 4.43 weeks. Okay, not anywhere. It's 4, 4.29, or 4.43 weeks. So based on last menstrual period, I was one month along at the end of December, two at the end of January, etc. At the end of June, I'm 30 weeks or seven months. But if you divide 30 by 4, I'm and a half months along? But if we keep going with this, nine months is the last day of August, and I've still got another week until my due date! (And then, if I'm anything like my mother, another two to three weeks until I actually give birth. Fingers crossed that I'm not.)

All I'm saying is, the numbers don't match up and it's really annoying to me. Pregnancy is super frustrating because it totally removes the ability to control or plan. I don't know when I'm going to go on leave, when this precious parasite will vacate my uterus, when I'll be back at work, how the birth will go, what kind of baby she'll be, how I'll end up feeding her, even how well I'll sleep tonight. I like to plan, you guys, and I can't really do any of it. I can't even be specific with how far along I am because the numbers don't match up. It seriously irritates the part of me that loves precision. I guess I just need to channel my "eh, close enough" side. That usually manifests when I'm tired of doing something, which, hey, I totally am!


  1. Seriously. No more planning ahead. Ever. Or for awhile.

    This morning I was trying to figure out how many months pregnant I am and I couldn't do it. I figured it was "pregnancy brain" and anyone who asks will just have to deal with getting the answer in weeks.

  2. When pregnant women answer in weeks (and they do for a long time after the baby is born too) I just do the quick 'divide by 4ish' thing and pretend like I understand. As it will likely never be me, I can be generous like that. :-)
    As for your love of precision, I suggest going to days. Since science supports the knowing of exactly when things happened for you, say "I am 287 days along."
    P.S. Does it disturb you when books use "gone" instead of "along?" Totally makes me yell at the book.

    1. "Gone" doesn't bother me, but "we're pregnant" sets my teeth on edge. O rly? Pretty sure only one of us is getting kicked in the bladder because we had the temerity to sit comfortably.


Be nice.