Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
3. Figure out (or double check) the due date.
For example, if measuring the top of the
womb tells you that the woman is 7 months
pregnant, you can expect that the baby will
be born in about 2 months. If you have
already figured out her due date using
her last monthly bleeding, check to see
if the 2 dates are about the same.
If the 2 dates are not about the
same, see page 133.
The top of the womb
is 4 fingers above
your bellybutton —
just where it should
be at 7 months!
To measure using a soft tape measure
You can use this method when the womb grows
as high as the woman’s bellybutton.
1. Lay a cloth or paper measuring tape
on the mother’s belly, holding the 0 on
the tape at the top of the pubic bone.
Follow the curve of her womb up and hold
the tape at the top of her womb.
2. Write down the number of centimeters
from the top of the pubic bone to the
top of the womb.
3. Doctors, nurses, and many midwives
are taught to count pregnancy by
weeks instead of months. They
start counting at the first day of
the last monthly bleeding, even
though the woman probably got pregnant 2 weeks later. Counting this way
makes most pregnancies 40 weeks long.
During the second half of pregnancy, the womb measures close
in centimeters to the number of weeks that the woman has been pregnant.
For example, if it has been 24 weeks since her last monthly bleeding, the
womb will usually measure 22 to 26 centimeters. The womb should grow
about 1 centimeter every week, or 4 centimeters every month.
If the size of the womb is not what you expected
If you are measuring correctly and you do not find the top of the womb where you
expect it, it could mean 3 different things:
• The due date you got by counting from the last monthly bleeding could
• The womb could be growing too fast.
• The womb could be growing too slowly.
A Book for Midwives (2010)