Are firstborns usually early or late?
No two pregnancy experiences are alike. Even when you become pregnant the second or subsequent time, you’ll see that each is different from the other. Likewise no two birth experiences are similar. If your first baby was full term, the second one could surprise you by popping out earlier than your expected due date. Likewise your first delivery could be a vaginal one and the second could end up being a caesarian delivery. So, you really can’t compare pregnancies.
But mothers are of the opinion that firstborns usually arrive late and often go past their due date while the second and successive ones tend to be early. However, there is no truth in this old wives’ tale because babies don’t arrive when they are supposed to. The due date in fact is just an estimate. Statistics show that only 4% of babies are born exactly on the due date – that’s about 1 in 30 women. 80% of women deliver sometime between 37 and 42 weeks. And a good chunk of the remaining 20%, deliver prematurely. If the pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks, the baby is considered overdue. This is more a case when overdue pregnancies run in the family.
So, are firstborns early or late?
Various surveys and data collected over the years don’t show any conclusive reports. Though there is no fixed norm, the general pattern is that first babies are more likely to be early (37 weeks or less), less likely to be on time (38-40), and more likely to be late (41 or more). A few results skew towards a 15 to 16 percent chance of first babies being born late, compared to a 9 or 10 percent chance for other babies.