The Science Corner

A corner of the Internet where you can find short articles and interesting facts related to pregnancy, ultrasound, birth predictions and maternity care. All articles have been reviewed by scientists. More articles are soon to come!

Beyond Guesswork: Harness the Power of Our Due Date Calculator for Improved Pregnancy Predictions

Are you aware that personal factors such as your height, age, the baby’s sex, and whether it’s your first pregnancy can significantly influence the length of your pregnancy?

Our advanced due date calculator takes these factors into account, providing a more accurate estimate of your baby’s arrival than traditional methods.

Recent research indicates that considering these personal factors can offer a more precise prediction of the due date than relying solely on ultrasound scans or calculations based on the first day of your last menstrual period. Our due date calculator is designed to incorporate these insights, providing you with a more personalized and accurate estimate.

Accurately determining the due date is crucial for various reasons. It aids in planning antenatal care, ensuring that essential medical examinations and tests are conducted at the appropriate pregnancy stage. Moreover, it provides parents-to-be with valuable information for personal, social, and practical preparations.

Since the 1990s, health services have relied on ultrasound data to calculate the due date. These calculations are based on the assumption that all babies are the same size at a certain fetal age and that all pregnancies are of the same length. However, research has shown that the length of pregnancy is influenced by personal factors, which our free due date calculator takes into account.

For more than 9 out of 10 pregnant women, the delivery date calculated by the traditional ultrasound method is not the most likely day for the baby to be born. This is where our due date calculator comes in, providing a more accurate prediction.

While the exact factors determining the length of a pregnancy remain a medical mystery, researchers have made significant progress towards a better understanding. While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact day your baby will be born, our due date calculator can provide a more accurate estimate of the most likely birth date.

Pregspect’s due date calculator models consider the most important individual factors, providing the most probable day of delivery for you and your baby. These models have been developed by Swedish researchers through statistical analyses of more than 1.7 million pregnancies and deliveries.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and let’s celebrate the curiosity together!

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Tuesday 25 Jul 2023
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Pregnancy & The Immune System: Remarkable Adaptations Explained

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey, marked not just by the growth of a new life but also by the incredible adaptability of the mother’s body. One of the most awe-inspiring aspects is how the immune system, designed to protect us from foreign invaders, allows a baby with 50% foreign DNA to grow.

 With tools like our advanced due date calculator, we can predict the timeline of the pregnancy journey, but understanding the science behind it offers a deeper appreciation.

The Immune System’s Protective Role

Our immune system is a vigilant guardian, attacking foreign organisms, tissues, and germs to shield us. This protective nature poses a question: How does a baby, with half of its DNA being foreign, grow inside its mother without being rejected?

Complexities of the Immune Response

The immune system, one of our body’s most intricate systems, defends us from potentially harmful invaders using a network of immune cells. Typically, any foreign tissue triggers an aggressive immune response aimed at eliminating the intruder1. However, during pregnancy, this system undergoes a “reprogramming” to accommodate the fetus while still defending against genuine threats like viruses and bacteria.2,3

Reciprocal Tolerance: A Two-Way Street

A successful pregnancy isn’t just about the mother’s cells tolerating the baby. The baby’s immune response, though still developing, also has to recognize and accept maternal cells.3 This mutual tolerance is crucial for a complication-free pregnancy.

The Placenta: Bridging Two Immune Systems

The placenta, a unique organ present only during pregnancy, is pivotal in the cooperation between the maternal and fetal immune systems.1 If the placenta doesn’t anchor correctly to the uterine wall, and fetal molecules seep into the mother’s bloodstream, it can lead to conditions like preeclampsia.

Debunking a Myth: Immune Suppression During Pregnancy

Contrary to long-held beliefs, pregnancy doesn’t weaken the mother’s immune system. Instead, it fine-tunes the immune response to selectively accept the fetus.2,3 The intricate ways that the immune response is altered to selectively accept the growth of an “alien in the belly” remains a subject of fascination for researchers, especially those exploring ways to prevent graft rejection post-transplantation.

Dive Deeper into Pregnancy Science

As we use tools like Pregspect’s due date calculator to plan and forecast the pregnancy journey, delving into the science behind it enriches our understanding and admiration for the process. Want to learn more? Explore related articles and tools on our website and embrace the wonders of pregnancy science.


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Friday 21 Oct 2022
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Understanding Healthy Pregnancy Weight Gain

Pregnancy is transformative, not just emotionally but physically as well. One of the most common concerns among expectant mothers is weight gain. How much is too much? What’s considered healthy.1 Learn about the factors that contribute to a healthy pregnancy weight gain!

The Role of the Placenta and Uterus in Weight Gain

The placenta, a fascinating organ developed soon after fertilization, supports the growing fetus. By the end of the pregnancy, this organ alone weighs approximately 700g2. Additionally, the muscular wall of the uterus expands, and along with the amniotic fluid, it forms a protective environment for the baby. Together, the baby, the reproductive organs (the uterus and the placenta), and the breast tissue account for nearly half of the recommended added body weight during pregnancy (see table below).3

How Blood Volume and Fluids Contribute to Pregnancy Weight

During pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases. This surge caters to the heightened demand for blood in her organs and also serves as nature’s way of preparing for potential blood loss during delivery.3Another common phenomenon towards the end of pregnancy is edema, where the body’s cells absorb excessive water.4 Combined, the increase in fluids is responsible for almost a quarter of the weight gain during pregnancy.3

The Significance of Fat Tissue Accumulation During Pregnancy

Almost a third of the weight gain during pregnancy is attributed to fat tissue. This accumulation of energy is more efficient during pregnancy, ensuring the baby’s proper growth and preparing the body for breastfeeding.5 While this is an advantage when nutrition is scarce, it can become a challenge in societies where energy rich food is available in abundance.

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) before the pregnancy plays a crucial role in determining the recommended weight gain.3 See the table below for guidance. There are several health problems associated with excessive weight gain, e.g. gestational diabetes, pregnancy related hypertension and retention of a higher weight after pregnancy.6

Energy Intake During Pregnancy

Contrary to popular belief, the body doesn’t require a significantly higher energy intake during pregnancy. In the first trimester, just a little extra, equivalent to an additional egg or a slice of whole grain bread daily, suffices. The second trimester demands slightly more, but a banana smoothie would cover it. By the last trimester, an extra bowl of chili con carne or baked salmon with potatoes daily provides the necessary energy.7

In summary, for you and your baby’s health, you should continue with regular physical exercise and healthy food, just a little more than usual.

BMI before pregnancy Recommended weight gain <18,5 (Underweight) 12,5 – 18 18,5-24,9 (Normal weight) 11,5 – 16 25-29,9 (Overweight) 7 – 11,5 ≥ 30 (Obese) 5-9


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Wednesday 19 Oct 2022
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Food Recommendations Look Different Worldwide

Being pregnant often comes with a myriad of questions, especially regarding what to eat and not to eat. Every country has its unique set of food recommendations, reflecting its cultural and nutritional landscape. From the accurate due date predictions to dietary advice, there’s a world of knowledge awaiting expectant mothers.

India: Tailored to Individual Needs

Indian guidelines are not just about what to eat but also at what time of the day, including a handful of nuts at 4 pm.2 Tailored to a woman’s BMI, these charts reflects the vast differences in nutrition status of the Indian population.2

Japan: Vegetables and Seafood

Japanese guidelines also offer a pregnancy food plan, but for each day of the week. In addition to recommending vegetables, the Japanese food plan has a rather strong focus on seafood.3

The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland: Quantity and Diversity

In the Netherlands, precise amounts for each food product are stated, but there is no schedule.4 Sweden and Finland both champion the benefits of a diverse diet and have no schedule. Their recommendations focus on balance and variety.5,6

United States: Prioritizing Safety

The U.S. takes a slightly different approach in which expecting mothers are primarily informed about food safety and how to avoid foodborne illnesses and harmful microorganisms. The focus is hence less on particular foods, but rather on hygiene practices when cooking.7 Pregnant women are for example given precise information on how to wash fruit and vegetables and instructions about how to heat certain foods.7

Universal Recommendations

Despite the myriad of recommendations and diverse pregnancy diets worldwide, some guidelines remain universal. These include the intake of folic acid supplements, the avoidance of alcohol, and the importance of a balanced diet combined with exercise.8


Pregnancy is a journey of discovery, from using a due date calculator to determine your baby’s arrival to understanding nutrition guidelines. If you feel stressed about what you can or cannot eat, take a deep breath and remember that mothers around the world eat very different diets and that healthy babies are born everywhere.9 With that in mind, check your country’s pregnancy diet recommendations and enjoy your meals!

South India4 Japan5 The Netherlands3 Early Morning 6.30 am

milk 200 ml 250 g vegetables 2 portions of fruit 4 to 7 full corn bread 4 to 5 spoons of full corn carbohydrate products or 4 to 5 potatoes 40 g cooking fats  1,5 – 2 L liquid 40 g cheese 3 to 4 portions of dairy products 25 g unsalted nuts Breakfast 08.00 am

2 dosa (Indian lentil pancake) + 100 mg vegetable chutney  Breakfast 

Rice + grilled fish + dipping Mid-Morning 10.30 am

100 g seasonal fruit Mid-morning

Pickles + apple + tea  Lunch 01.00 pm

4 roti (a type of bread) + 30 g meat + 50 g green leafy vegetables curry + 50 g salad + 100 ml curd Lunch

Rice + tofu with meat miso + starchy sauce + seaweed salad + clear soup Afternoon snacks 04.00 pm

100 g seasonal fruit + 30 g nuts Snack

Roasted green tea + Biscuits Dinner 08.00 pm

100 g rice + ½ Tur Dal + 75 g green leafy vegetables + 50 g vegetables + 100 ml curd Dinner

Pasta + salad Bedtime 10.00 pm

100 ml milk Bedtime

Milk soup + coffee + sherbet

Examples of daily food plans (India and Japan) and food recommendations (The Netherlands) for pregnant women. Amounts per day. 

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Wednesday 5 Oct 2022
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Are you suffering from fear of delivery?

Up to 20% of pregnant women suffer from fear of childbirth, but this type of severe anxiety can also affect co-parents.

The upcoming delivery will inevitably be a big event in your life. Nervousness or unrest are normal feelings, but some pregnant women experience high levels of anxiety and can develop a more serious condition called fear of childbirth (FOC). This can range from mild to severe anxiety, the latter sometimes being referred to as tokophobia.1 

FOC and tokophobia has been shown to affect about 5-20% of all pregnant women, depending on how it is measured.2 However, it is important to know that neither FOC nor tokophobia are feelings limited to those giving birth. Also, co-parents can suffer from anxiety and fear related to childbirth. Research in this area is still limited, but estimations say that as many as 1 out of 10 partners may suffer from FOC.3

Traumatic events in the past, fear of not being in control and fear of pain have been shown to be associated with FOC.2 Some women are also afraid that their body might not be strong enough to give birth.4

What can you do if you are pregnant and feel anxiety or fear when thinking of the delivery? Research suggests several ways in which anxiety can be relieved: the first and most important step is to talk to your midwife to get accurate information about the delivery process.1 Sharing your fears with a knowledgeable professional might also be helpful, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. At many hospitals there are specialized centers for those who suffer from FOC.1 

Next time you meet your midwife, share your feelings and thoughts. You are far from alone, and there is help available!

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Wednesday 5 Oct 2022
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Aspirin reduces the risk of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia affects 5-8% of all pregnant women annually and is a hypertensive condition that globally is one of the main causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in mothers and fetuses.1

A large number of research studies have shown that one 75 mg tablet of aspirin per day significantly reduces the risk of preeclampsia.2 In some countries, among them Sweden, healthcare authorities therefore have introduced routines for preventive treatment with aspirin. Women belonging to the risk group are recommended to prophylactically take 75 mg of acetylsalicylic acid from week 10-12, until week 36.3

Preeclampsia is a complex condition and researchers have not yet fully understood its underlying causes.1 The disease is characterized by the placenta not properly attaching to the uterine wall, causing substances that normally only are present in the fetus to enter the mother’s blood stream. The nutrient supply to the fetus also deteriorates.1 The mother’s immune system gets triggered by the unknown substances, giving an inflammatory response that damages the blood vessels and causes them to contract.4,5 This in turn causes proteins to leak into the urine and the blood pressure to rise.4

Preeclampsia can appear from pregnancy week 20, but usually shows as late as after week 34. The symptoms vary greatly, which makes the condition difficult to diagnose, but typical symptoms are headache, visual problems, swelling or acute pain in the upper abdomen, especially under the ribs on the right hand side.6 Anyone who experiences symptoms such as these during the latter part of pregnancy should contact healthcare.

At present, there is no other available treatment than to deliver the child prematurely.3 However, blood pressure-lowering medication, reduced stress and monitoring in hospital are measures that can be put in place to postpone a possible premature birth.4 Normally, the symptoms disappear shortly after the baby is born.


Examples of high risk factors Examples of medium risk factors Suffered from preeclampsia previously Chronic kidney disease Egg donation Diabetes mellitus before the pregnancy Multiple births (i.e twins or more) Chronic hypertension Carrying her first child or more than 10 years since last pregnancy BMI > 30 Age > 40 Heredity Hypertension early in pregnancy

Pregnant women with one high risk factor or three or more medium risk factors are considered to belong to the risk group that can benefit from taking Aspirin. Important! Never start any medication on your own, please consult your doctor before starting any medication.

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Wednesday 5 Oct 2022
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Interview with Pregspect’s researchers at Uppsala University

Read the article  “New model forecasts birth dates” from Uppsala University, Sweden 2022 , where researchers and  Pregspect founders Dr. Mikael Elinder and Dr. Oscar Erixson are interviewed about the background to Pregspect and the work involved in developing the birth forecast models.


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Monday 26 Sep 2022
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Do you know why to eat folic acid?

Everyone needs folate (vitamin B9, or folic acid), but it is especially important when you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.1

Folate is used by the body for DNA replication (cell division) and in the production of amino acids and vitamins.1 Since it is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, folate deficiency leads to anemia. During pregnancy the need for folate is higher than normal since it is also required for growth and proper development of the fetus.1

Several studies have shown that a daily intake of folic acid before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) by up to 72%.2 NTDs are among the most common birth defects, contributing to miscarriage, infant mortality and severe congenital abnormalities.1 Since folate supplement was introduced as a recommendation to women worldwide, the number of children born with NTDs has dropped significantly.1 The finding that folate can reduce NTDs is one of the rare instances in which science has been able to identify preventable causes of birth defects.3

Folate is a vitamin B found naturally in food, while folic acid is an artificially produced folate that is used as food fortifier and in dietary supplements. Folic acid is more easily absorbed by the body than the folate form.3

Egg yolk, dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. asparagus, broccoli, spinach and avocado) and various kinds of cabbage, beans, chickpeas, lentils, sunflower seeds, fruits and berries are examples of foods high in folate. The vitamin is heat sensitive and can be easily destroyed by prolonged heating, so fresh vegetables are preferred.4 However, to get enough folic acid during pregnancy, supplements are usually recommended.

Fact box:

Amino acids = The building blocks of proteins

Vitamin B = A group of eight water soluble vitamins. Vitamins are essential nutrients that cannot be produced by the body and hence have to be obtained from food. 

Congenital abnormality = Malformation present from birth

NTD (neural tube disorder) = Birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. The malformations arise when the neural tube fails to close during early embryo development.

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Sunday 8 May 2022
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I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)