It’s easy to get confused by dates when it comes to pregnancy. What does LMP stand for? When did I ovulate? Can you tell the exact day that I got pregnant? We’ll explain some of these questions below to help you understand just how everything is counted.

When is my due date?

To calculate your due date, count 40 weeks after the first day of your last period.

Why do my periods matter?

Pregnancy isn’t measured from when you conceived – it’s actually measured from the first day of your last menstrual period, also known as your LMP. This is one reason why it’s important to keep track of your periods on a calendar or an app.

If you can’t remember when your last period was, or if your periods are irregular, or if you’ve been breastfeeding or on birth control, it’s harder to give an accurate due date. You might have to wait for your first sonogram, when measurements will give you a better idea of how far along you are.

So if my pregnancy is measured from my period, when did I conceive?

Great question. Short answer: There’s no way to know for sure. Conception is a much harder date to track down – that’s why LMP is used to measure instead of conception.

You conceive around the time that you ovulate (when your ovary releases an egg ready to be fertilized by your partner’s sperm.) Women with a perfect 28-day cycle usually ovulate around day 14 of their cycle, and conceive within a few days before or after ovulation. But because eggs can live up to 24 hours, and sperm can live up to 5 days, and almost nobody has a perfect 28-day cycle, you can see how complicated it becomes to do the math.

You can estimate conception to be around 2 weeks after your period starts – but keep in mind that it could be several days before or after that exact date. If there are 2 possible fathers that you had sex with around that time, you probably will need to wait to do a DNA paternity test to know for sure who the father is.

How soon can I take a pregnancy test?

Our tests are accurate 10 days after conception. Since conception happens around 2 weeks after your period starts, that adds up to about 24 days after your LMP. It’s best to wait to take a test until you’ve missed your next period. If you get a negative test within a month of your period, wait a week or two and then take another test.

I think I’m pregnant – what now?

We’d love to help get you started on your pregnancy journey. At A Better Choice, all of our services are free of charge. Start with a walk-in pregnancy test anytime Monday-Friday 9am-4pm. At your test, an advocate can schedule you for a free limited ultrasound if you need further help finding out your due date. We can also help you get insurance and a doctor, and connect you with other resources in town that help with employment, housing, counseling, and more. And when your baby is born, we can help with baby items. We’d love to walk with you – however that looks. Call us today at 316-685-5757.

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