Pregnancy is a fascinating part of life and stands as proof that human beings can go through unimaginable changes in order to bring new lives into this world. Many women are surprised to hear about the changes they'll be undergoing and what actually happens in order to give birth, but it's a beautiful and unique process. Each part must readjust and prepare and in this process, there's a whole slew of things that happen over a span of nine months to get her ready to be a new mom. With the help of science, we now understand more about this nine-month journey than we ever had and with it, the statistics that follow.
Depending on where mom is in the world, her age, and even how much her baby grows, she might find herself to be part of one of these. These stats are overwhelming, interesting, and informative, and serve as a wealth of knowledge to those seeking to learn more about this thing we call childbirth. It's not for the faint of heart and will never be easy, but it will always be worth it!
Here are 20 statistics about pregnancy that will make mom think, encourage mom to learn more, and maybe introduce her to a fact she didn't know prior to reading this.
20 There's Always A Consistent Percentage Of Women Who Are Pregnant
That's right, if you're pregnant right now, you're part of a statistic without even knowing it! Many of these stats are from the US because pregnancies are monitored much more easily and the information is readily available. At one point in time, you could be one of the 4% of women in America who is pregnant. The surprising thing about that rate is that it rarely fluctuates -- While it may increase or decrease by a decimal, it's a fairly reliable and regular number when it comes to women who are in one of their nine months of pregnancy. We can attribute this to the large US population.
19 The Number Of Unplanned US Pregnancies Is Quite High
Additionally, you might find that your pregnancy was not planned at all -- This accounts for a certain percentage of pregnancies as well. Surprisingly, this number is overwhelmingly large compared to the number of families who do plan their pregnancies. In that number, you have underage pregnancies as well as birth control mishaps, in addition to the families who aren't trying to have a baby but aren't trying to fully avoid it, either. That could explain why over 33 million pregnancies out of roughly 6.7 million are recorded as unplanned. Still, the fact that half of the total number of US pregnancies turn out to be unplanned is relatively high.
18 Birth Control Isn't Always Effective, But The Statistic Is Still Surprisingly Low
As years progress, birth control becomes more and more effective. We can thank science for this since it has come a long way since the birth (no pun intended) of birth control back in the '60s. Considering that fact, it's still relatively new and has only been around less than 50 years -- That makes it even more impressive that we see such low birth control failure rates in the US. Of the total number of pregnancies, this country sees, only about 5% of them are due to a failed birth control method. Modern contraceptive options such as combination pills, IUDs, and rings have all helped to contribute to that statistic being so small.
17 The Longest Pregnancy Ever Recorded Was Well Over 300 Days
Yikes! In season four of Gilmore Girls, there was an ongoing joke with Sookie, a character who was going through her first pregnancy on the show. She began to get impatient in her ninth month and feared that her pregnancy was going to last the same length as an elephant's gestation -- Luckily, this is biologically impossible. However, that doesn't mean that your baby might not take a bit longer to make their appearance. The longest pregnancy ever recorded was 375 days -- That's a little over a year. When delivered, the baby was only just under seven pounds... It seems this baby just wanted to hang around for an extra hundred days!
16 The US Sees More C-Sections Than Any Other Country
A mom-to-be does have the option to plan a c-section rather than a natural birth when it comes time to deliver her baby. The US offers plenty of freedom when it comes to how your delivery goes, barring extenuating circumstances where the mom or her baby's life is in danger. Additionally, the US is more ready to perform a c-section than many other countries and will use this as an acceptable method if the birth canal is small or a mother has already had one c-section. However, according to the World Health Organization, the US exceeds their recommended number of c-sections by more than half.
15 Your Uterus Expands How Much During Pregnancy?
Imagine that your uterus is like one of those toy spheres that you'd find in a preschool playroom. As you exert pull on the outside, the entire thing expands to provide a hollow interior with plenty of room. That's how your uterus works during pregnancy -- your uterus expands roughly 500 times its original size in order to make room for the baby growing inside you. Along with your uterus, your pelvic bones will also separate somewhat to provide a wide enough birth canal. This is why many women notice larger hips after they've given birth and have more of an hourglass or pear shape to their bodies.
14 The "Pregnancy Waddle" Is Legitimate
We don't just mean in the sense that you're carrying around an extra 30 pounds, we mean it's a legitimate waddle -- and there's a reason for this. When your body realizes an egg has been feritilized, it immediately goes into preparation mode. This includes the release of certain hormones, mainly one that's called relaxin. This is responsible for the loosening of your joints and ligaments in order to allow for extra growth and size constraints in preparation of your growing baby. The loosening and "relaxing" of all these joints sometimes leads to a woman feeling a bit more wobbly on her feet, thus resulting in the "pregnancy wobble".
13 Pregnancy Increases Fluid Volume And Heart Size
If you're picturing the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas right now where his heart grows three times in size, you wouldn't be too far off. However, this growth in your heart isn't due to an overwhelming kindness attribute -- it's due to the fact that your body is producing more blood for the growing baby inside of you. Additionally, your body is producing more fluids, period, because there needs to be enough for two people now, not just one. Your heart muscle will grow in relation to this increase in fluids so that it can successfully pump it around your body.
12 Contraction Force Is Incredibly Strong
If you've had a baby already, then we don't need to tell you how strong uterine contractions can be. Obviously, the force that's generated needs to be strong enough to push your baby out and this means pain. However, once that's over, it's pretty amazing to look back and learn how much force your uterus is actually able to produce in order for you to give birth. The exactly measured poundage is 397 pounds of pressure per each square foot. That means that your uterus is exerting almost 400 pounds of pressure downward in order to get your baby out of there.
11 The Size Of An Average Baby Has Increased
This is an interesting statistic, especially when thought of in conjunction with the number of c-sections that are performed in the US each year. At one point, babies would top out, on average, at a weight of six pounds or maybe a tad bit more. This was the case for moms in the '80s but is not so much the case today. Now, the average baby comes in weighing roughly eight pounds -- two whole pounds more than babies that were born 30 years ago. There's nothing wrong with this and a baby's size at term doesn't affect his or her development (unless the increase or decrease in size is directly linked to a birth defect), but it's an interesting thing to take note of.
10 Carpal Tunnel Can Be A Pregnancy Side Effect
You can get carpal tunnel from many things, the most common of which occurs in people whose job it is to type or write for long periods of time. However, pregnancy can also be conducive to getting carpal tunnel, which is a tingling or "pins and needles" feeling that radiates through the arm and hand. This is due to nerves that are being pinched when the arm is bent a certain way and can be caused by excess swelling or edema during pregnancy months. This can happen in both the arms and the legs and can be initially alarming, but it's a well-noted side effect of pregnancy.
9 These Countries Have The Highest And Lowest Fertility Rates
The US doesn't fall into either of these categories, in fact, North America as a whole doesn't fall into either of them. Additionally, Europe is also left out of this statistic. The country that sees the highest rate of fertility is Niger, and families are known to be much larger there with a rate of six or more children for each woman. In Singapore, the story is quite the opposite, as they have the lowest rate of fertility. It's noted that most women have one child or, even more surprising, do not get pregnant at all. This is all dependent on their genetics as well as potential environmental factors.
8 You Can Actually Convince Yourself You're Pregnant When You're Not
It might seem crazy and like something out of a fiction novel, but it's not. The term for this is Pseudocyesis, otherwise known as a "false pregnancy". This is where a woman has convinced herself that she's pregnant, so much so that she becomes psychologically convinced to the point where her body begins to follow those convictions. She might experience mild pregnancy symptoms though she is not pregnant, as the body has fallen in line with her psychological patterns. The opposite of this is "pregnancy denial", where a woman has herself convinced that she is not pregnant when she actually is.
7 The Rate Of PPD Is Still Too High
The US has an astounding rate of moms who suffer from postpartum depression and it's estimated that roughly 600,000 women are prone to this after they give birth. The number fluctuates each year between 11-20% of all pregnancies and it far too high considering how many pregnancies there are total in the US each year. Experts claim that there are more cases of postpartum depression that simply go unreported because this number excludes moms whose babies did not make it to term, even though women can still suffer depression from it. Therefore, the number, in reality, is sadly much higher.
6 You'll Find The Most Twins In This Country
Interestingly enough, but not really surprising, Niger not only has the highest fertility rate in the world but also sees the most twins born per year. This percentage accounts for nearly 4.5% of all twins in the world and while again, it's not surprising due to their rate of fertility, it is interesting that of all the babies born, many of them are born in pairs. Some experts have claimed that the reason behind this is due to all of the yams that are eaten in the country, but there's really no definitive proof of that being the exact cause.
5 There Are More Teenage Moms In The US Than You Think
Outside of the prying eyes of Teen Mom, teen pregnancy is something that many teenagers face around the US. This can be a challenging thing to grapple with and the statistic is surprisingly high in the US, going far beyond what you see on television. For these teens, their babies are part of an overwhelming 500,000 that are born in the US alone to teenage parents. Being pregnant as a teenager comes with its own risks and isn't easy without first reaching adulthood. In addition, financial and time constraints can make being a parent very challenging for these young adults.
4 Home Births Account For A very Low Percentage In The US
Unlike some European countries, home births in the US aren't a very mainstream course of action for moms-to-be. In fact, the statistic for how many moms actually choose this delivery method is shockingly low. Last recorded, the rate of home births was less than one percent of the total number of pregnant women in the US. That makes home births an extreme rarity. In stark contrast, the Dutch population sees an overwhelming rate of 30% of women choosing to go with a home birth rather than a hospital delivery. To each their own!
3 The Chance A Baby Is Born On Their Due Date Is Minor
If you're counting on your due date as sure thing, it's likely that your baby has other ideas for when they're popping into this world. Doctors can estimate the due date based on when you conceived and how quickly your baby is developing, but the educated guesses end there. In reality, your body will decide on its own when your baby is ready to come into the world. Realistically, the due date will fall within two weeks of when you'll actually give birth. Only 50% of births occur within a week of their recorded due date, and even less happen on or near their due date.
2 Most Women Will Experience Some Type Of Tearing
This isn't something you should fear or worry about, but it's a well-known fact that during labor, some tearing is natural. Your body is preparing to push out and baby and tearing come with the territory, as your baby is naturally much larger than your birth canal. A few stitches will fix the problem, but it's estimated that nine out of ten women who give birth will experience tearing during labor. This can vary from mild to severe depending on your size as well as your baby's, but it's all part of having a natural birth -- Once you hear your baby cry for the first time, it'll be the furthest thing from your mind.
1 The Rate Of Having Twins Goes Up After Age 45
Go figure, right? After age 45, pregnancy can be tricky and a bit risky since your body isn't operating like it would in your 20s or 30s. It's estimated that only 3% of pregnant women will end up having twins which is somewhat of a small percentage considering how many women in the world are pregnant at one time. Of this three percent, however, 17% of them who are age 45 or older will likely give birth to twins. That rate has gone up significantly since the 1980s, at a rate of 80% higher than previously recorded. We suppose you could say that having twins is in nowadays!