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Does such a word exist?

It has occurred to me that the "woman" part is redundant, since only women can be pregnant (except for Arnold Schwarzanegger in Junior)

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"only women can be pregnant" — Well, so can cows, cats, and so on. –  ShreevatsaR Dec 16 '11 at 11:52
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Sex-wise, actually. Gender's a bit more fluid. –  onomatomaniak Dec 16 '11 at 12:00
    
True. "Gender-wise" only women can be pregnant. Although In most circumstances it would come up, the species is implied –  Urbycoz Dec 16 '11 at 12:03
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I'd rather say pregnant woman is the "norm". But I don't think it's "redundant" as one might want to use woman as opposed to child or teenager. One usually says a pregnant child or a pregnant teenager, without specifying the gender. –  Laure Dec 16 '11 at 12:14
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@Mr.Wizard more due to people abiding by the law and social norms, than medical conditions. A newspaper would refer to a pregnant 11 year old as a "pregnant child" -- or even an older girl, for impact. abcnews.go.com/Health/… . The point Laure is making though, is that "child" and "teenager" are gender-neutral, yet are the words we would choose. –  slim Dec 16 '11 at 17:00
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6 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Primagravida is a medical term for somebody pregnant for the first time, and multigravida is in the OED for somebody pregnant not for the first time, so you could coin gravida, I suppose. But in normal usage, I'd say there is no such noun.

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The noun gravida for a "pregnant female" is mentioned in (Wikipedia)[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy], in the online edition of the Merriam Webster, in the (Free Dictionary)[thefreedictionary.com/gravida] and in the paper editions of Webster's third International Dictionary and in Longman's Dictionary of the English Language. I did not find it in the OED or in the BBC English Dictionary. –  Laure Dec 16 '11 at 15:36
    
"gravida" is a medical term for a pregnant woman. "gravid" is an adjective meaning "pregnant". (I don't know why doctors need another word to mean pregnant, but whatever.) Both words would be recognized by doctors, but probably pretty much no one else. What's wrong with simply saying "pregnant woman"? –  Jay Apr 23 '12 at 14:21
    
@Jay I don’t think gravid for pregnant is so rare as to be unrecognized outside of medicine. –  tchrist Oct 25 '12 at 0:08
    
@tchrist I've never seen it used by other than doctors and nurses in a medical context, but of course I can't speak to professions or social circles other than my own, etc. –  Jay Oct 25 '12 at 14:20
    
(Tradition and professional pride probably dictate using gravid rather than pregnant. But as it can be a sensitive topic, using "gravid" about a patient would probably go unnoticed in a hospital whereas "pregnant" might raise unwelcome curiosity among other visitors or patients.) –  Hugh yesterday
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The OED records pregnant as a noun as well as an adjective, with the meaning ‘a pregnant woman’, with three citations from the twentieth century alone. I wouldn’t say it was in common use though.

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Really? It makes sense, but it just sounds so very wrong: "Please avoid heavy lifting if you are a pregnant." –  Urbycoz Dec 16 '11 at 11:47
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@Urbycoz: The twentieth century citations show the usage in medical contexts. As I said, not, in my experience, common. –  Barrie England Dec 16 '11 at 11:52
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@onomatomaniak: that's more like a mass noun than in Urbycoz's "Please avoid heavy lifting if you are a pregnant." Where idiomatic use would drop the a. –  Matt Эллен Dec 16 '11 at 12:19
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@Barrie: Which is why I made the comment here, not on Linguistics.SE. English is not a science, and sounding awful is a valid usage note. –  Robusto Dec 16 '11 at 13:45
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@ThePopMachine: No, but my citation does. –  Barrie England Dec 18 '11 at 7:55
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Extremely informally, people may say a "preggo"

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I think it is more than extremely informal; a search on Yahoo Answers of "preggo" shows it was used in 21700 questions –  Theta30 Dec 16 '11 at 22:14
    
Thanks for providing the evidence! –  ThePopMachine Dec 17 '11 at 4:28
    
+1 for a nice word. Wish it was in more common use. –  Urbycoz Dec 20 '11 at 8:40
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Ye gods, but I hate that "word". –  user362 Dec 28 '11 at 13:48
    
Around here, that's more than informal, it's offensive. Less offensive as an adjective however. Consider en.wiktionary.org/wiki/preggo. –  Merk Oct 19 '12 at 21:34
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If you can accept a hyphenated phrase, then mum-to-be or mother-to-be are quite common.

(Or mom-to-be in the USA, I presume?)

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I've also heard people use "the expecting", but I think it's a rather obnoxious-sounding term. –  onomatomaniak Dec 16 '11 at 12:15
    
In the US it would be "mother-to-be". –  Charles yesterday
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I haven't ever heard anybody use it in conversation, but venter means a pregnant woman.

EDIT: In response to the comment by jwpat and the upvoters: Here is a link, and here is another.(In the first link, do a Ctrl+F and look up definition 6)

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Among links from your link, none of wiktionary, thefreedictionary, or medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary support that usage. The last refers to "the abdomen, the uterus"; the second gives "in venter, Law, conceived but not yet born"; and the first gives the close-but-not-quite "A woman with offspring". Can you point to a specific reference instead of an inconclusive search page, and incorporate part of the result into your answer? –  jwpat7 Dec 16 '11 at 18:48
    
@jwpat: done. Here's another link: webster-dictionary.net/definition/Venter –  Autoresponder Dec 17 '11 at 6:34
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The real frain is whether such a word is needed.

OE had byrþestre (e) f. female carrier. So I guess a modern version could be: birthster.

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protected by RegDwigнt Oct 19 '12 at 21:25

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