Pregnancy is a period of up to 41 weeks in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb. NICHD conducts and supports research and training to help promote healthy pregnancies, with a focus on the important events that occur before, during, and after pregnancy.
Pregnancy is the period during which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, or just over 9 months, as measured from last menstrual period to delivery.
What are some common signs of pregnancy?
A primary sign of pregnancy is missing 1, 2, or more menstrual periods in a row, but many women experience other symptoms of pregnancy, such as fatigue or nausea, before they miss a period.
How do I know if I'm pregnant?
Home pregnancy tests are often the first way women learn they are pregnant. If a home test is positive, a woman should call a health care provider to make an appointment and confirm the test.
What is prenatal care and why is it important?
Early and regular prenatal care, health care during pregnancy, improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth.
What are some common complications of pregnancy?
Common complications of pregnancy include high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, infections, preeclampsia, preterm labor, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus. High-risk pregnancies often require specialized care from specially trained providers.
What infections can affect pregnancy?
Infections that can affect the health of the pregnant woman, the pregnancy, and the baby after delivery can include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, human papillomavirus, syphilis, and Zika.
What is labor?
Labor and delivery are the processes by which the fetus and the placenta leave the uterus. Delivery can occur vaginally (through the vagina) or by a cesarean or surgical delivery.
What is a cesarean delivery?
A cesarean delivery is a surgical procedure in which a fetus is delivered from the womb through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
What should I know about postpartum depression?
“Postpartum depression” is not just depression and is not just postpartum. Women can experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues during pregnancy and after the baby is born.
NICHD Research Information
NICHD investigates pregnancy and complications of pregnancy.
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NICHD conducts and supports a variety of clinical research projects related to pregnancy and complications of pregnancy.
Find answers to other common questions about pregnancy, such as how much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy and what challenges pregnant women with disabilities face.