The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long. The most important tasks of basic fetal cell differentiation occur during the first trimester, so any harm done to the fetus during this period is most likely to result in miscarriage or serious disability. There is little to no chance that a first-trimester fetus can survive outside the womb, even with the best hospital care. Its systems are simply too undeveloped. This stage truly ends with the phenomenon of quickening: the mother’s first perception of fetal movement. It is in the first trimester that some women experience “morning sickness,” a form of nausea on awaking that usually passes within an hour. The breasts also begin to prepare for nursing, and painful soreness from hardening milk glands may result. As the pregnancy progresses, the mother may experience many physical and emotional changes, ranging from increased moodiness to darkening of the skin in various areas. During the second trimester, the fetus undergoes a remarkable series of developments. Its physical parts become fully distinct and at least somewhat operational. With the best medical care, a second-trimester fetus born prematurely has at least some chance of survival, although developmental delays and other handicaps may emerge later. As the fetus grows in size, the mother’s pregnant state will begin to be obvious. In the third trimester, the fetus enters the final stage of preparation for birth. It increases rapidly in weight, as does the mother. As the end of the pregnancy nears, there may be discomfort as the fetus moves into position in the woman’s lower abdomen. Edema (swelling of the ankles), back pain, and balance problems are sometimes experienced during this time period. Most women are able to go about their usual activities until the very last days or weeks of pregnancy, including non-impact exercise and work. During the final days, some feel too much discomfort to continue at a full pace, although others report greatly increased energy just before the birth. Pregnancy ends when the birth process begins. See also acute fatty liver of pregnancy; ectopic pregnancy; fetal alcohol syndrome; fetal alcohol effect; hyperemesis gravidarum; preeclampsia; pregnancy, tubal; prenatal care; prenatal development; birth defect; teratogen.
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The state of a female after conception and until the termination of the gestation. SYN: fetation, gestation, gravidism, graviditas. [L. praegnans (praegnant-), pregnant, fr. prae, before, + gnascor, pp. natus, to be born]
- abdominal p. the implantation and development of the ovum in the peritoneal cavity, usually secondary to an early rupture of a tubal p.; very rarely, primary implantation may occur in the peritoneal cavity. SYN: abdominocyesis (1), intraperitoneal p..
- aborted ectopic p. SYN: tubal abortion.
- ampullar p. tubal p. situated near the midportion of the oviduct.
- cervical p. the implantation and development of the impregnated ovum in the cervical canal.
- chemical p. slight, unsustained rise in HCG levels.
- combined p. coexisting uterine and ectopic p..
- compound p. development of a uterine p. in addition to a previously existing ectopic p. (usually a lithopedion).
- cornual p. the implantation and development of the impregnated ovum in one of the cornua of the uterus.
- ectopic p. the development of an impregnated ovum outside the cavity of the uterus. SYN: eccyesis, extrauterine p., heterotopic p., paracyesis.
- extraamniotic p. a p. in which the chorion is intact, but the amnion has ruptured and shrunk. SYN: graviditas examnialis.
- extrachorial p. p. in which the membranes rupture and shrink, causing the fetus to develop outside the chorionic sac but within the uterus. SYN: graviditas exochorialis.
- extramembranous p. a p. in which during the course of gestation the fetus has broken through its envelopes, coming directly in contact with the uterine walls.
- extrauterine p. SYN: ectopic p..
- fallopian p. SYN: tubal p..
- false p. a condition in which some signs and symptoms suggest p., although the woman is not pregnant. SYN: hysterical p., pseudocyesis, pseudopregnancy (1), spurious p..
- heterotopic p. SYN: ectopic p..
- heterotropic pregnancies pregnancies occurring simultaneously in different sites, e.g., intrauterine and ampullary.
- higher order p. a p. that has three fetuses (triplets) or more.
- hydatid p. the presence of a hydiform mole in the pregnant uterus.
- hysterical p. SYN: false p..
- interstitial p. SYN: intramural p..
- intraligamentary p. p. within the broad ligament.
- intramural p. development of the fertilized ovum in the uterine portion of the fallopian tube. SYN: interstitial p., tubouterine p..
- molar p. p. marked by a neoplasm within the uterus, whereby part or all of the chorionic villi are converted into a mass of clear vesicles.
- multiple p. condition of bearing two or more fetuses simultaneously. SYN: polycyesis.
- ovarian p. development of an impregnated ovum in an ovarian follicle. SEE ALSO: Spiegelberg criteria, under criterion. SYN: oocyesis, ovariocyesis.
- ovarioabdominal p. ovarian p. that, as the result of the embryo's growth, becomes abdominal.
- persistent ectopic p. an ectopic p. that has persistent viable tissue, secreting hCG after conservative surgery.
- postdate p. a p. of more than 294 days or 42 completed weeks. SYN: prolonged p..
- prolonged p. SYN: postdate p..
- secondary abdominal p. a condition in which the embryo or fetus continues to grow in the abdominal cavity after its expulsion from the fallopian tube or other seat of its primary development. SYN: abdominocyesis (2).
- spurious p. SYN: false p..
- tubal p. development of an impregnated ovum in the fallopian tube. SYN: fallopian p., salpingocyesis.
- tuboabdominal p. development of an ectopic p. partly in the fallopian tube and partly in the abdominal cavity.
- tuboovarian p. development of the ovum at the fimbriated extremity of the fallopian and involving the ovary.
- tubouterine p. SYN: intramural p..
- twin p. a p. that may result from the fertilization of two separate ova or of a single ovum. SEE ALSO: twin.
- uterine p. development of fetus within the uterus.
- uteroabdominal p. development of the ovum primarily in the uterus and later, in consequence of the rupture of the uterus, in the abdominal cavity.

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preg·nan·cy 'preg-nən-sē n, pl -cies
1) the condition of being pregnant
2) an instance of being pregnant

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the period during which a woman carries a developing fetus, normally in the uterus (compare ectopic pregnancy). Pregnancy lasts for approximately 266 days, from conception until the baby is born, or 280 days from the first day of the last menstrual period (see Naegele rule). During pregnancy menstruation is absent, there may be a great increase in appetite, and the breasts increase in size; the woman may also experience morning sickness. These and other changes are brought about by a hormone (progesterone) produced at first by the ovary and later by the placenta. Definite evidence of pregnancy is provided by various pregnancy test, by the detection of the heartbeat of the fetus, and by ultrasound. Medical name: cyesis. See also pseudocyesis.
pregnant adj.

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preg·nan·cy (pregґnən-se) [L. praegnans with child] 1. the condition of having a developing embryo or fetus in the body, after union of an oocyte and spermatozoon. It is marked by cessation of the menses; nausea on arising in the morning (morning sickness); enlargement of the breasts and pigmentation of the nipples; progressive enlargement of the abdomen. The absolute signs of pregnancy are fetal movements, sounds of the fetal heart, and demonstration of the fetus by x-ray or ultrasound. 2. the period during which a female is pregnant, in humans being about 266 days from the time of fertilization of the oocyte until birth (or 288 days from the last normal menstrual period to birth); see gestation period, under period.

Pregnancy—Uterine levels.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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