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Pregnancy Math

I have been wanting to write this post for years, but it’s only appropriate and justified coming from an author who is at least 30 weeks pregnant.

I am currently clocking in at 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

I have gained at least 30 pounds.

My back hurts and my ankles are swollen.

And, therefore, I am a credible author for this post…

Ladies, please stop saying you are “10 months pregnant” or that pregnancy lasts for ten months. It’s simply not true. I am not a mathematician by any means, but I think we can do some simple addition to verify that a full-term pregnancy lasts right around nine months, just like all the books and doctors say.

Here is the thing… we measure pregnancy in weeks. Your doctor gives you a due date that is 40 weeks from the date of your last menstrual cycle. 4 weeks does not equal a month unless it’s February. Every month is 30 or 31 days, and therefore approximately 4.5 weeks, so your 40 week pregnancy is not ten months long.

I will agree with you on this fact. Pregnancy math is weird. The medically-recognized human gestation period is the kind of math that made me cry in high school. It doesn’t really make sense.

Pregnancy = 40 weeks.

But you aren’t really pregnant for the first two weeks, because you typically conceive 10-14 days after the start of your last menstrual cycle.

So for the first two weeks of pregnancy, you aren’t actually pregnant. From the point of conception to your due date = 38 weeks (definitely not ten months).

Then there is the whole trimester thing… why would you take a number that is not divisible by 3 (either 40 or 38 weeks) and decide that pregnancy should be counted in trimesters? Ridiculous.

If you want to divide your pregnancy into trimesters, your first trimester ends at 13 weeks and 2 days and 8 hours, your second trimester ends at 26 weeks, 4 days, and 16 hours, and your third trimester ends on your due date (if you have surrendered to the whole fake 40 week gestation period in the first place). That’s just awkward. “Hey! I’m 26 weeks, 4 days, and 16 hours pregnant… hello, third trimester!” That’s not a catchy Instagram caption.

I will admit in the past some women may have reached ten months of pregnancy. Before we had such stringent medical policies in place, there were times when women would go WAY past due. I heard of one mom, back in 70s, who had a baby at 43 weeks. That’s still not technically ten months, but it’s close enough that I’ll let her claim it. But now research shows the chances of stillbirth go up significantly after 42 weeks of pregnancy, so if you are birthing a child in the U.S. you probably won’t ever have a pregnancy remotely close to ten months long, even with the most chill midwife ever.

The easiest way to see that pregnancy is really only nine months long is by doing some simple math. Add the number of months from your estimated conception date to your baby’s due date or birthday. Here are some examples from my three children…

Zianne // conceived on or around December 19th, born on September 21st at 9 days past due (total pregnancy duration: 9 months and two days)

Talitha // conceived on or around September 16th, born on June 12th one day early (total pregnancy duration: 8 months and 27 days)

Baby #3 // conceived on or around July 23rd, due April 15th (estimated pregnancy duration: 8 months and 23 days)

There you have it… some simple pregnancy math from the least number-savvy person in the universe. I seriously despise math, but I can’t handle one more woman complaining about being ten months pregnant. You are not and will not ever be ten months pregnant. I assure you.

Don’t get me wrong… do I feel ten months pregnant these days? Sometimes. Do I feel like I haven’t worn regular clothing in at least ten months? Yes. Do those hazy days of feeling nauseated and exhausted during my first trimester seem like they were at least ten months ago? Sure.

But I praise God every day that I will never actually know what ten months of pregnancy feels like… and you won’t either. Four weeks does not equal a month and trimesters are a silly way to divide up a pregnancy, but take comfort in this fact. Lord-willing, you will only be pregnant for nine months give or take, and God will sustain you the whole time. He decided thousands of years ago that 38 weeks was the perfect amount of time to grow a human baby in the womb, and His design is perfect. You might only be pregnant for nine months, but that little newborn babe will be ten months old… or even ten years old… in the blink of an eye!

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