17 Surprising Facts About Pregnancy & Childbirth

17 Surprising Facts About Pregnancy & Childbirth
Image: iStock.com/HannamariaH

twins sleepingiStock.com/HannamariaH Pregnancy is a time when numbers matter: From a mother's due date to how many inches her belly measures to the number on the scale, a mom is constantly keeping count! But what if a mom wonders how her own personal figures stack up compared to those of other women? While there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to be pregnant, sometimes it can be helpful to understand other women's experience. 

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We all want to make sure our pregnancies are on track for a healthy delivery, but is there a way to get quantifiable information? We found expert information about what the average pregnancy looks like -- though again, every woman is different and pregnancies vary wildly from woman to woman. Here are the average numbers for how women change and grow during pregnancy -- from how much weight they gain, to the chances they'll have a boy, to even the percentages of moms who work. These numbers can help an expectant mother understand a little more about her pregnancy -- or maybe these facts provide interesting new ways to look at what a pregnant woman is experiencing. Read through our slideshow of fascinating numerical pregnancy facts to find out!

  • The Average Weight Gain Is ...


    Image via anopdesignstock

    Wondering if your increased poundage is on the high or low end of the spectrum? The average woman gains about 25 pounds during pregnancy (sounds pretty low to us!). 

  • How Many Extra Calories Do You Really Need?


    Image via DrGrounds

    The U.S. National College of Medicine says that women need about 300 extra calories per day -- even though you probably feel like you could use a whole lot more sometimes!

  • Amnio Is a Thing of the Past


    Image via Csaba Deli

    While amniocentesis was once commonplace (particularly in moms over 35), the introduction of noninvasive prenatal testing has led to a 76% decrease in amnio procedures. 

    More from The Stir: 12 Confidence-Boosting Perks of Pregnancy 

  • Your Breasts Will Gain 2 Pounds


    Image via Staras

    Can't beat pregnancy cleavage: The average woman goes up one bra size during the first trimester alone (about 2 additional pounds overall). 

  • Morning Sickness Is Pretty Likely


    If you're feeling queasy, you're not alone: About 70% to 80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness! 

  • The Mean Age for Moms


    Image via skodonnell

    While many women are postponing motherhood these days, the mean age of a woman the first time she gives birth is still pretty low: 25.6 years.

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  • Average Amount of Time in Labor


    Image via themacx

    Labors can last minutes or days, but the average amount of time a woman spends in childbirth is 8.22 hours.

  • Epidurals Are Popular


    Image via RapidEye

    The pain of childbirth is no joke -- that's why 61% of women opt for epidural or spinal anesthesia during vaginal deliveries!

  • How Many Women Really Get C-Sections


    Image via Steve Debenport

    While c-sections seem to be getting more and more popular, they're still not the norm: Only 32.7% of women get c-sections, with 67.3% delivering vaginally.

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  • You Are More Likely to Have a Boy


    Image via RuthBlack

    There are more blue-themed baby showers going on in the world, but not that many: 107 boys are born for every 100 girls, globally. 

  • Most Popular Day, Month & Time to Give Birth


    image via BrianAJackson

    If your due date is on a Tuesday, it just might be accurate: Tuesday is the most popular day of the week to give birth, with July being the most popular month (between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. are the most popular times). 

  • The Incidence of Twins


    Image via HannamariaH

    Possibly due in part to an increase in IVF procedures, the twin birth rate has jumped 75% since 1980. The more, the merrier!

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  • Most Common Baby Weight


    Image via jeffstrauss

    How little is your little nugget, really? 80% of babies born full-term weigh between 5 pounds, 11.5 ounces and 8 pounds, 5.75 ounces. 

  • Average Maternity Leave in U.S.


    Image via RTimages

    Proof that we need better family leave policies in this country: While 70% of new moms take some time off from work after giving birth, the average maternity leave in the U.S. is only 10 weeks. 

  • How Many Dads Take Paternity Leave?


    Image via PeopleImages

    Still more proof we need better family leave policies: 96% of new dads take only 2 weeks or less off from work. 

    More from The Stir: 12 Terrible Ways to Congratulate a Woman on Her Pregnancy

  • Percent of Moms Who Work ...


    Image via alicat

    SAHMs are now officially in the minority: 64% of mothers with children under the age of 6 work. 


  • Percent of Moms Who Support Their Families ...


    Image via AVAVA

    Being a mom is hard work, in more ways than one: Women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 40% of households with children under the age of 18. 

c-sections conception eating for two labor & delivery morning sickness twins & multiples weight gain

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