preg·​nan·​cy | \ ˈpreg-nən(t)-sē How to pronounce pregnancy (audio) \
plural pregnancies

Definition of pregnancy

1 : the quality of being pregnant (as in meaning)
2 : the condition of being pregnant : gestation
3 : an instance of being pregnant

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Synonyms for pregnancy


family way, gestation, gravidity

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Examples of pregnancy in a Sentence

an elephant's pregnancy can last almost a year

Recent Examples on the Web

The new Lancet study found that between 1995 and 2014, whenever international patients stopped receiving contraceptives and family planning advice due to the gag rule being reinstated, rates of pregnancy—and abortions—shot up. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "The Growing Toll of the Global Gag Rule," 3 July 2019 On average, states allow women to have abortions until the 21st week of pregnancy, according to Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a research group at the University of California, San Francisco. The Economist, "Missouri’s only abortion clinic loses its licence," 24 June 2019 During her pregnancy last year, Kardashian gave a shout-out to Hatch Mama Belly Oil, a hydrating body oil that's formulated to smooth stretch marks. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Hatch’s Fan-Favorite Belly Oil Is Back in Stock After 1,000-Person Waitlist," 21 June 2019 Many women take a prescription medication at some point during their pregnancy. STAT, "How Europe is building a sweeping system to study medication safety in pregnant and lactating women," 21 June 2019 The center was also behind a controversial 2012 law prohibiting most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy., "Never heard of model bills? Here's how they work.," 20 June 2019 Others tackle other infectious diseases, eye disease, and fetal development as well as toxic exposures during pregnancy. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "In wake of Trump's fetal tissue clampdown, scientists strain to adjust," 11 June 2019 They were given the isotope-containing chow during their pregnancies. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How old are your organs? Salk, UCSD mouse study finds human clues," 6 June 2019 The actress recalled being followed by paparazzi during her pregnancy, which took a toll on her. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bridget Moynahan Is "Still Working Through" the Aftermath of Her Breakup with Tom Brady," 19 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pregnancy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pregnancy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for pregnancy

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for pregnancy

The first known use of pregnancy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pregnancy



English Language Learners Definition of pregnancy

: the condition of a woman or female animal that is going to have a baby or babies : the condition of a pregnant woman or female animal


preg·​nan·​cy | \ ˈpreg-nən-sē How to pronounce pregnancy (audio) \
plural pregnancies

Kids Definition of pregnancy

: the state of being pregnant


preg·​nan·​cy | \ ˈpreg-nən-sē How to pronounce pregnancy (audio) \
plural pregnancies

Medical Definition of pregnancy

1 : the condition of being pregnant
2 : an instance of being pregnant

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Comments on pregnancy

What made you want to look up pregnancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


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