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A pregnant woman.

Pregnancy is when a female mammal has an unborn baby inside her. During pregnancy, a female is called "pregnant". A human pregnancy is about nine months long. It usually starts when a woman has sexual intercourse with a man. Her ovum (or egg) and his sperm come together and form a zygote (fertilized egg) inside her. The zygote grows into an embryo, which grows into a fetus. When the fetus is ready, it is born.

Human pregnancy is split into three parts called trimesters. Each trimester is about three months long. During the first trimester, the woman might feel sick in her stomach. She might have to urinate often. During the second trimester, the woman's abdomen starts to stick out. During the third trimester, her abdomen sticks out even more, and she becomes even heavier. Some other things happen to the woman during pregnancy. At the end of a full pregnancy, the woman's body pushes the baby out. This is called delivering a baby or giving birth. It can hurt a lot.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women says that pregnant women must be given time away from work or equal welfare for her baby without losing her job (Article 11).

Pregnancy problems[change | change source]

Sometimes there are problems with pregnancies. A miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is when the baby dies before it is born. A stillbirth is when the baby is dead when it is born. There are also diseases caused by pregnancy. Sometimes, women die from giving birth. In developed countries, this is much less common than it used to be.

Abortion[change | change source]

A pregnancy can also stop without the baby being born. This is called abortion. Doctors can do things that will stop a pregnancy. Such an abortion is called induced abortion. Countries have different laws about induced abortions. Some countries allow it, and others do not. In some countries, it is allowed, but only for certain reasons, such as the pregnancy resulting from rape, or a doctor saying that the pregnant woman might die if the pregnancy is not stopped. People also have different opinions about abortion. Often, these are influenced by religious beliefs. Some Christians believe that Exodus 20:13, which says not to kill people, applies to induced abortion.

There are a few diseases that can kill a woman or make her very ill if she has a baby. Having abortions could save the lives or health of these mothers.