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the whole pregnancy months controversy

The checkout gal at the grocery store asked me how far along I was... it's fun when strangers notice! I told her six months. She said, "That's how far I am!" I kinda stared for a second, because she looked so much smaller than me, and people already tell me I don't look six months pregnant, so I asked her due date and she said "Late July... I just started my sixth month! I'm at like 21 or 22 weeks." I'm due June 11th... I decided not to mention it because I didn't want to get into some weird "what's six months?" debate.

Because I get into this debate all the time! I mean not GET INTO it, just realize that people are sort of confused about the whole "months" thing.

Most everyone knows that a pregnancy lasts about nine months.

The medical world and actual pregnant people like to keep track in weeks because it's more accurate. The average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, counting from the date of a woman's last menstrual period (LMP). So pregnant women are constantly faced with stating their "progress" in terms of weeks for the scientific/experienced world, months for the normal people.

And that's where the bad counting starts. I got involved in the debate way more than I wanted to because I made this script to tell me, in very simple terms, how pregnant I am: http://spacefem.com/pregnant.php Because let's face it... when you first take that little pee stick test you're obsessed with the "progress" number, but as time goes on the weekly count gets pretty blurry. I'm currently... in the 20s someplace.

Other people in pregnant used it too and liked it and I was flattered, but I got some complaints about my month count and I totally refuse to change it. Some sources of confusion include the:

- "I'm in my sixth month, so I'm six months pregnant." Like our grocery store checker tonight. People NOOO! In your first year of life are you one year old? You're six months pregnant when you've completed six months.

- "There are four weeks in a month." Again, close but wrong. I know it's nice to think that at 16 weeks you're four months pregnant... but since all months have a teeny bit more than four weeks in them it doesn't work out. Four weeks is 28 days, most months are 30-31. Even if every month was a nice even 30 days, four months would be 120 days and 120/7 is 17.14 weeks... at 16 weeks you've got some time to go, kids. And hell, has anyone noticed that if there were four weeks in a month pregnancy would last ten months? How will you explain that your December pregnancy will end in September?

- "I found this random chart that says 21 weeks is five months so it's TRUE!" Close... but since weeks don't correspond exactly with months, you can't have a chart that says exactly which week corresponds with what month. Unless you do a lot of sloppy rounding. And I am not working sloppy rounding into a perfectly good script. I also don't care what your random charts say if they're wrong.

So me, my script, and my big mouth have gotten me into all sorts of trouble because I insist that this is the only way to convert weeks to months:

[Weeks you are at] * (12 months/365.24 days) * (7 days in a week) = Months you are at

And you have to round down, if you're going to round, because you're trying to get to "months you've accomplished". And of course calendar dating is also acceptable... if your last period was March 12, and March is the third month of the year, you'll be one month on April 12th. Two months on May 12th. Three months on June 12.

I refuse to believe that "pregnancy months" are different or special, I refuse to round up because some inaccurate chart says you can. Please people, pregnancy is important. You're bringing a new life into the world. The least you can do is check the math.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
neuro42
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
You are such a dork. I love it.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
This is the perfect comment.
kirstene
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Ah, now I understand why my friend who doesn't understand why the new century began with 2001 also told me that pregnancy is actually ten months long.
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
apparently there are legit, published BOOKS that says pregnancy is ten months long. It offends me horribly!

I mean I'll hand it to you, apparently the first month after having a baby is quite an ordeal, and sometimes deserves to be called the "tenth month of pregnancy" because you're so not normal. But actually being pregnant for ten months? No.
jackiechloe
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
There does exist a (very) small subset of the population for whom pregnancy might really last ten months: my husband gestated for 43 weeks and 3 days (yes, with good dating), so his mom was a hair's breadth from ten months pregnant.

But, yeah, that isn't what those books mean, is it? Oh well. :)
amy0catherine
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
This is why I stuck to weeks..no math. Friday was my "switch" day which was easy to keep track of, plus weeks means a lot more to me. i know what a 28 weeker looks like, 7 mo leaves a lot of ambiguity, but I'm weird like that.
dwh
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
I love you just a little for writing that script. And I agree you should stick to your math. But then, I'm a nerd, and not pregnant. So I'm probably not the one to ask.
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but however you think now, you'll probably think that way if you ever get pregnant. pregnancy and non-pregnancy are both temporary states female people just go through.

(but nerd is forever.)
mrs_dragon
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
But, that's math. And math is, well, mathy and scary, and did I mention mathy?

I can't even begin to tell you how many quilters "hate math". Um, kay, yea. you are involved with a hobby that involves measuring tiny bits of fabric, figuring seam allowances, and working out how big the end product will be. Do you hate yourself?

Your program? Awesome. The other people? Ungrateful idiots. (And poster children for why we need better education in math and analytical thinking, but I digress.)
theoretical_cat
Mar. 13th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
This. Very much this.
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
I think I'm gonna have a shirt made that says "Math: It's Mathy!"
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
lol... "now with more integers!"
mrs_dragon
Mar. 14th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
You beat me to it! : )
mrs_dragon
Mar. 14th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
: D
(Deleted comment)
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
lol... by "the whole thing is exhausting" you mean math, arguments, or pregnancy?

Based on my observations of pregnant there does seem to be a "mental breakdown" somewhere around the 40W 4D mark... there's an "I'M GONNA BE PREGNANT FOREVER" post, followed several days later by a birth announcement :) So I'm trying to prepare myself! I was born twelve days overdue. So I'm telling everyone my due date is "mid to late June".
charlenesmiley
Mar. 13th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
this made my head hurt. i can tell you the exact date i conceived because my doctor impregnanted me via IVF =) Jan 24. So, how many weeks I am? I count 9 weeks and 1 day. Is that right? That is what my doctor says, too....does that match up with your system?
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
congrats on being at least internet-stranger public about it :)

I need to add a conception date option to my script thingy! Anyway, it says that we're 6W, 6D past conception and you get to add another two weeks for gestational age so I have 8W 6D... pretty darn close. January 24th was a Sunday so you get to move up a week every Sunday. Most websites I found said that conception and LMP have a 14 day difference, so it's like your LMP was January 10th. You hit the two month mark on March 10th.

http://spacefem.com/pregnant.php?use=LMP&m=1&d=10&y=10
charlenesmiley
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
=) re: "internet stranger public" =)
When i plug in my LMP of 1.7.10 your calculator and the doctor's calculator are equal! I like your calculator. It tells me I am 23.3% complete. the ocd part of me is appreciative! =)
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I find it amusing that the medical community is using your LMP even thought your conception date is certain. I figured we were just using LMP to estimate conception because most women have no idea when that fateful night (or morning, or nooner) actually occurred. They're subjecting you to the same sloppy estimating that we all do! Or maybe IVF is special because those fertilized eggs go straight to the uterus, whereas eggs fertilized in the fallopian tube take a few days to find their way there. Crazy stuff. Well either way a few days makes no difference in the end, I'd use your 1.7 date. Yay, nine weeks! I was thrilled to make it to week 9 because I read that seven weeks was the peak of ectopic pregnancy risk and some were discovered at eight weeks, don't ask why I was so sure I was going to internally bleed to death but I was. I now blame all that crazy early anxiety on hormones.
charlenesmiley
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about ectopic this time since we saw the zygote being deposited directly into the uterus! =) My 2nd pregnancy was ectopic...and like you said..discovered at 7 weeks...I was bleeding out and admitted for emergency surgery. So, I was thankful to not have to even have that as a worry this go around. We lost the 1st one at 13 weeks...so my "magic" week to get to is 14....which is April 15th according to your calculator and mine. =) "Tax Day" has an entirely different meaning for me this year!!!
tequiladawn
Mar. 13th, 2010 04:41 am (UTC)
You. are. adorable.
And I have flight charts, enroute, and low altitude, with plotter that I thought you might find amusing if not useful...the charts are of Europe. Lemme know if you want them and I'll drop them off at the appartment office or something. I'll just use 'em as wrapping paper otherwise: They're neat, but I really like my maps to be of the ground!
spacefem
Mar. 13th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
Ooh, wrapping paper, I'd been wondering what to do with my expired wichita sectionals!

Anyway they do sound cool... if you make it by the office in the next couple weeks awesome, if not no sweat.
hitchhiker
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:35 am (UTC)
> You're bringing a new life into the world. The least you can do is check the math.

indeed!
sharya
Mar. 13th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Excellent post :)

I was absolutely stunned when I found out they start counting based on the LMP rather than conception. Complete estimation, and that ticked me off to no end. I kept playing with the numbers trying to get due dates to make sense, but nothing seemed to work. It frustrated me so much that it all depended upon which book I read, as to which "month" I was. Stupid estimation.

It also REALLY pissed me off, that I knew exactly what date I conceived, but yet they insisted on giving me a different due date based on my LMP. Dumb doctors.
rottenfruit
Mar. 14th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
I admire your patience and geekiness, but you also make me glad I'm not a member of pregnant.
spacefem
Mar. 14th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
lol... I do talk a lot of smack on the community but it's helped me in many ways, too. I love reading the birth stories.
geekwithstyle
Mar. 14th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
I got into this debate a lot with people in my parenting community.. drove me CRAZY!! When I was pregnant, if people asked me how far along I was, I would tell them "I'm due on June 3rd, only three months to go!" LOL
kart
Mar. 15th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
In your first year of life are you one year old?

In some cultures, YES, sort of. They count the time before birth towards your age so upon birth you're already one year old.
tabloidscully
Mar. 16th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
Given my own experience over at the community, I'm not surprised you had some people jump down your throat. I felt eviscerated over there the other day when, during the course of a vent, I accidentally presented a number as a percentage. It actually had almost nothing to do with my post, but a handful of community members went off the deep end and accused me of twisting the numbers on purpose.

Obviously, they had no way of knowing (short of checking my profile) that they were dealing with someone who actually suffers from a learning disability that almost certainly assures such mistakes. Even after clarifying this with an edit to my original post, I still had members of the community up in arms now accusing me of being melodramatic for explaining where the error had come from--no matter what I did, there were just some people intent on stirring the drama llama regardless. Suffice it to say, I'm going to be very careful if I ever post again.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's kind of funny to me that I had some members riding me about the importance of precision, and I'm willing to bet those are some of the same individuals arguing with you about your pregnancy ticker, which is inherently more accurate than SnugglePie or the other free sites.
spacefem
Mar. 16th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
I saw that... actually you made stupid_free for that one! congrats! Hate to say it but I think the major controversy was that you delayed fixing the typo in order to spend a lot of time explaining discalculia to people. I wasn't sure where to jump into the debate.

Anyway, it's a fascinating community. I have learned a lot in there, I won't deny it, you should stick with it. Just don't take it personally if people jump on you a bit. I got hardcore slammed in there once for mentioning that I might let my newborn baby cry... I just thanked them for their input, came and posted in my lj to people who know me, we eye-rolled together.
tabloidscully
Mar. 16th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
...I think I would have rather not known someone felt the need to submit me to that community (if that's indeed what happened, and I was being mocked as opposed to those who went bat-shit over the error). Because of course making an error and then explaining how it came about means I'm clearly not fit to breed or labeled as anything but "stupid."

The problem is, before I was even given a chance to fix the typo, people were immediately accusing me of intentionally manipulating the numbers because of the context in which the quote was made. Given that I was being attacked, correcting the error came second priority to defending attacks by people I had never even met. And the reality is, people make snap judgments about people all the time without pausing to consider what's going on beneath the surface--I admit, I'm guilty of this. Someone who is a terrible speller, for example, I automatically assume is lazy, instead of wondering if they perhaps have dyslexia.

I'll probably continue reading to see if others ask questions I, myself, have--but again, I'll definitely think twice before I post again.

Edited at 2010-03-16 08:05 pm (UTC)
spacefem
Mar. 17th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
oops, sorry to bring it up. I actually thought a lot of the comments in stupid_free were pretty supportive of you... more supportive than those in pregnant which is funny because s.f. is usually HARSH.
Karl Geisler
Aug. 19th, 2012 11:50 am (UTC)
thank you for fighting the good fight
I've had many of these same discussions myself. However, isn't it 365.25 and not 365.24?
spacefem
Aug. 19th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
Re: thank you for fighting the good fight
almost! Unfortunately we're not exactly right on with that "leap year every four years" idea, we actually have to make it NOT a leap year every 100 years, unless it's the 400th year... it's a real mess. that's why the mayans and aztecs amazed us with their calendars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year#Algorithm
https://www.google.com/search?q=days+in+1+year
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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