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pregnancy, period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo). The average duration of pregnancy in humans is about 280 days, equal to 9 calendar months. After the fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterus, rapid changes occur in the reproductive organs of the mother. The uterus becomes larger and more flexible, enlargement of the breasts begins, and alteration of renal function, blood volume, and blood cell count occur. Movement of the fetus and fetal heartbeat can be detected early in pregnancy.

One test that has been used to determine pregnancy uses blood or urine samples to detect a hormone known as BhCG, found exclusively in pregnant women. Later, prenatal diagnostic tests such as alpha fetoprotein, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling may be performed as screening measures for congenital defects. Ultrasound, a sonar device using high-frequency wavelengths, is used to detect defects, measure fetal heartbeat, and monitor growth of a fetus.

Complications of pregnancy include eclampsia, premature birth, and erythroblastosis fetalis (Rh incompatibility). Ectopic pregnancy, in which the fetus begins to develop outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube, is another complication. It is often the result of scarring from a sexually transmitted disease. Smoking has been linked to low–birth weight infants; alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been linked to a group of defects called fetal alcohol syndrome.

The technology relating to pregnancy has made great advances and has created a number of ethical issues. Many women in their 40s are now able to sustain successful pregnancies, due to technological devices that carefully monitor the progress of the fetus. In vitro fertilization and other infertility treatments have allowed even postmenopausal women to give birth. The use of fertility drugs has led to a marked increase in multiple births. Abortion, in which pregnancy is terminated prior to birth, has long been a subject of heated debate, and surrogate motherhood (see surrogate mother) has also raised ethical issues in recent years.

See also amenorrhea; birth defects; midwifery.


See J. T. Queenan and C. N. Queenan, ed. A New Life (1992); C. A. Bean, Methods of Childbirth (1990);; Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century (1998).

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The state of being pregnant, from conception to childbirth.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


If you are afraid of being pregnant, you may dream of it often. At times, women learn about their pregnancy in their dreams. Your mind knows about everything that is going on in your body even if you are not consciously aware of it. However, don’t panic! You could also be pregnant with ideas! Old dream interpretation books say that a dream about pregnancy is a good omen for women, and an improvement in her intimate relationship is forthcoming. For a man, it is a warning against casual sex.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
KEYWORDS: Cornual pregnancy, Local treatment, Methotrexate, Potassium chloride.
Cornual pregnancy, also known as interstitial pregnancy, is a rare form of ectopic pregnancy (2-4%) that occurs in a funnel-shaped area where the uterus connects to the fallopian tubes.1 For the management of cornual pregnancy, generally cornual resection is the preferred surgical treatment.2,3 Systemic Methotrexate (MTX) treatment4,5 may be preferable in women who want to preserve their fertility.
Goldenberg, "Laparoscopic treatment of cornual pregnancy: a series of 20 consecutive cases," Fertility and Sterility, vol.
Pratt, "Laparoscopic removal of twin cornual pregnancy after in vitro fertilization," Fertility and Sterility, vol.
A rare case report of cornual pregnancy. Obstet Gynaecology Int J 2016;5(6):00179.
Tulandi et al reviewed the management of 32 reported cases of cornual pregnancy. Ultrasound revealed an ectopic cornual gestation sac in 40.6% and a hyperechoic area/ mass in the cornual region in another 25%.
Even with a high index of suspicion and advances in sonography, including transvaginal ultrasound and serum beta hcG, cornual pregnancy remains the most difficult type of ectopic pregnancy to diagnose.
In literature, cornual pregnancy is used interchangeably with annular and interstitial pregnancy.
Misdiagnosed Uterine Rupture of an Advanced Cornual Pregnancy. Case Reports in Radiology.
Repeat ultrasound was done which showed cornual pregnancy of 28 weeks with severe oligohydramnios.