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Pregnancy

Pregnancy (latin graviditas) is the carrying of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, inside the uterus of a female human. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets. Human pregnancy is the most studied of all mammalian pregnancies. Obstetrics is the surgical field that studies and treats pregnancy. Midwifery is the non-surgical field that cares for pregnant women.

Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks after fertilization (conception), i.e., approximately 40 weeks from the the last normal menstrual period (LNMP) in humans. The date of delivery is considered normal medically if it falls within two weeks of the calculated date. The calculation of this date involves the assumption of a regular 28-day period. Thus, pregnancy lasts almost ten months, although the exact definition of the English word “pregnancy” is a subject of controversy.

One scientific term for the state of pregnancy is gravid, and a pregnant female is sometimes referred to as a gravida.[1] Both words are rarely used in common speech. Similarly, the term "parity" (abbreviated as "para") is used for the number of previous successful live births. Medically, a woman who is not currently pregnant or who has never been pregnant is referred to as a "nulligravida", and in subsequent pregnancies as "multigravida" or "multiparous".[2] Hence during a second pregnancy a woman would be described as "gravida 2, para 1" and upon delivery as "gravida 2, para 2". Incomplete pregnancies of abortions, miscarriages or stillbirths account for parity values being less than the gravida number, whereas a multiple birth will increase the parity value. Women who have never carried a pregnancy achieving more than 20 weeks of gestation age are referred to as "nulliparous".[3]

The term embryo is used to describe the developing offspring during the first eight weeks following conception, and the term fetus is used from about two months of development until birth.[4][5]


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pregnancy".