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40 Pregnancy Statistics and Facts: From Bump to Birth

From conception to aftercare, dive into 40 wild pregnancy statistics and facts.

While pregnancy is an extremely common part of being a human, there are still lots of questions surrounding it. Certainly, during my pregnancy, everything came as a surprise!

We’ve compiled 40 interesting pregnancy statistics and facts to bring pregnancy to light. Learn more about what the body does during gestation, pregnancy facts in the United States, risks, complications, and more.

Before you know it, you’ll be much more clued up on pregnancy. Whether you’re planning a pregnancy, already pregnant, or simply looking to support a friend, it’s important to understand a bit about what it’s like to carry a child.

5 Key Facts About Pregnancy and Conception

Below are five quick pregnancy statistics and facts. For more in-depth information, we have 40 more facts about pregnancy and conception throughout the article.

  1. Around 25 percent of women bleed or spot during pregnancy.
  2. In 2021, there were 3,664,292 births in the U.S.
  3. In 1950, the rate of live births among 15- to 19-year-olds was 81.6 per 1,000 births. This dropped to an all-time low in 2019, with 6.7 live births per 1,000.
  4. Around 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  5. About 50 percent of women who develop gestational diabetes continue to develop type 2 diabetes.

40 Pregnancy Statistics and Facts

Depending on the situation, getting pregnant can be weird, wonderful, or scary. Every second feels like something new is happening! To educate readers on all aspects of pregnancy, we have 40 interesting bits of trivia to share.

Interesting Facts About Pregnancy

To kick off, below are 10 cool facts about being pregnant, such as what your body does while pregnant or what happens to the baby month by month.

  1. Sense of smell: During pregnancy, the majority of women experience a heightened sense of smell (1). This can trigger nausea and vomiting.
  2. Your center of gravity changes: During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity can change (2), which can interfere with her sense of balance. This can cause more women to fall. In fact, around 26% of women fall during pregnancy, which is similar to the amount of people aged 65 and up who have falls.
  3. Higher blood volume: Pregnant women have a higher blood volume than non-pregnant women (3). The blood volume of a pregnant woman increases by 45%, while plasma volume increases by over 50%.
  4. Forming fingerprints: During pregnancy, the fetus develops fingerprints. Fingerprints are formed between 10 and 17 weeks gestation (4). The shape and size of fingerprints are genetic, as patterns are passed down through generations. All fingerprints are unique, though — even identical twins don’t have matching fingerprints.
  5. Importance of glucose: Glucose is the main energy source for the baby (5). An unborn baby can’t produce glucose independently, so it needs to get it from the mother’s diet.
  6. Expect swelling: Ankles, feet, and fingers might swell up during pregnancy, especially as you reach the 40th week (6). This is because your body holds more water than usual. Typically, this is healthy and won’t harm the baby, but sudden swelling in the face, hands, or feet can be a sign of preeclampsia.
  7. Bleeding and spotting during pregnancy: Around 25% of women bleed or spot during pregnancy (7). This can be a sign of miscarriage or other problems, but in many cases, it’s not an indicator of anything being wrong. Always let your healthcare provider know.
  8. The heart grows: A pregnant woman’s heart physically grows during pregnancy (8). In fact, the heart can be up to 20% larger in pregnant women than in nonpregnant women (9).
  9. Gestational diabetes: Between two and 10% of women in the U.S. develop gestational diabetes (10). Breastfeeding after birth can reduce the chances of both mother and baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life (11).
  10. The placenta: During pregnancy, you grow a whole new organ, the placenta (12). It provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby while removing waste from the baby’s blood.

Pregnancy Statistics In the U.S.

Pregnancy looks different in each country. The care, demographics, and outcomes all vary. If you’re curious about pregnancy in the U.S., check out these 10 worthwhile facts.

  1. Number of births: In 2021, there were 3,664,292 births in the U.S. (13).
  2. Fertility rate in the U.S.: In 2021, the fertility rate was 56.3 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44.
  3. Percentage born with low birth weight: In 2021, 8.52% of babies had a low birth weight (less than five pounds and eight ounces).
  4. Preterm births: 10.49% of babies born in 2021 were born preterm (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
  5. Mean age of mother: The mean age of a first-time mother is 27.3 years old.
  6. More information on maternal age: In 2021, the birth rate for women aged 15 to 24 declined and instead rose for women aged 25 to 49 (14). For example, there were 647,505 births for women aged 20 to 24. There were 1,113,678 births for women aged 30 to 34.
  7. Pregnancy before marriage: In 2016, 28% of births to White women in the U.S. happened before marriage (15). In 1990, only 15% of births to White women happened outside of marriage.
  8. Women who want to know more: About 40% of women in the U.S. wish they knew more information about the reproductive organs (16). 38% want to know more about menopause and perimenopause, and 35% want to know more about when a woman is most fertile.
  9. Increase in chronic physical and behavioral health conditions: Between 2015 and 2018, there was a significant increase in both chronic physical and behavioral health conditions before pregnancy (17). Hypertension cases increased by 31%, type 2 diabetes by 28%, and diagnosed obesity by 100%. Anxiety and depression also increased by 23 and 35%, respectively.
  10. How COVID-19 impacted pregnancy: During the COVID-19 pandemic, 61% of pregnant women’s doctors limited their office hours. Almost half of pregnant women had their appointments virtually. More than 25% of women skipped prenatal appointments during the pandemic. 14% didn’t get any prenatal care during their first trimester.

Pregnancy Statistics by Age

We’ve touched a little on pregnancy by age, but let’s investigate further, looking at statistics and facts across various age demographics by year.

  1. Pregnancy complications: 149.9 per 1,000 women between 18 and 24 experience pregnancy complications compared to 230.7 for women aged 34 to 44 (18).
  2. Fertility rates: On average, between 2019 and 2021, the fertility rate was highest among women aged 20 to 29, with 78.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women (19). The lowest group was women over 40, with 12.9 births per 1,000 women.
  3. Live births by age: 46.7% of live births were to women aged 20 to 29, 45.4% were to women aged 30 to 39, and 3.6% were to women 40 and above.
  4. Fertility rate for women aged 20 to 24: In 1950, the fertility rate was highest among women aged 20 to 24, with 196.6 live births per 1,000 women (20). In 2019, this dropped to 66.6 live births per 1,000 women. Instead, the highest age group for live births was 30 to 34-year-olds, with 98.3 live births per 1,000 women.
  5. Teen births throughout the years: In 1950, the rate of live births among women aged 15 to 19 was 81.6 per 1,000 births. This peaked in the 60s at 89.1, but as of 2019, it had dropped to an all-time low at 6.7.
  6. Birth rates in women 35 to 39: In 1990, the birth rate for women aged 35 to 39 was only 31.5 per 1,000 (21). In 2019, the rate had increased by over 67% to 52.72 births per 1,000 women.
  7. Median age by race: In the U.S., the median age of a mother at birth increased for all races. The biggest jump was for foreign-born women, which was 27 years in 1990 and 32 years in 2019. The second biggest increase was among Black women, which was 24 in 1990 and 28 in 2019. The median age overall was 27 in 1990 and 30 in 2019.
  8. Chance of pregnancy in under 30s: Before the age of 30, a woman has an 85% chance of conceiving naturally within one year of trying (22).
  9. Conceiving in your 30s: Between 30 and 35, the chance of conceiving naturally is 75% within one year. This drops to 66% at age 35.
  10. Fertility after 40: By age 40, women only have a 5% success rate of getting pregnant during each cycle. This is about a 44% chance within the year. By 45, a natural pregnancy is very unlikely (23).

Risks and Complications

While many women have an easy, breezy, happy pregnancy, most pregnancies have some risks and complications, even if it’s just morning sickness. Spoiler alert: it sucks! To educate you on the most common risks and complications of any pregnancy, we’ve gathered 10 important facts.

  1. Miscarriages: Around 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage (24). Typically, this happens because the baby isn’t developing properly.
  2. High blood pressure: High blood pressure occurs when the arteries narrow (25). This is dangerous because it can prevent the blood and, therefore the nutrients and oxygen from reaching the placenta and baby. About 8% of pregnant women experience high blood pressure (26).
  3. Anemia: Anemia occurs when a pregnant woman has a low number of healthy red blood cells. This can cause fatigue and weakness. Anemia is usually managed with iron tablets or other supplements. It’s important that a pregnant woman takes about 30 mg of iron per day anyway.
  4. Anxiety and depression: Mental health challenges are quite common in pregnancy, especially if you’ve dealt with them before. Around 7% of pregnant women experience depression (27). Symptoms can include being worried about the baby, low self-esteem, smoking, drinking alcohol, and suicidal thoughts.
  5. Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as the fallopian tube. In these situations, the pregnant woman may need surgery or medication to remove the pregnancy. This happens in about 2% of pregnancies in the U.S. (28).
  6. Hyperemesis gravidarum: Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is an extreme case of sickness and vomiting during pregnancy (29). It can lead to weight loss and, therefore, a high ketone count. About 0.3 to 3% of women experience hyperemesis gravidarum.
  7. Amniotic fluid: Amniotic fluid complications can include too much or too little liquid in the sac around the baby (30). Too much fluid can lead to preterm labor. Too little fluid can indicate birth defects or placenta issues.
  8. Preeclampsia or eclampsia: Preeclampsia is when a mother has high blood pressure and, sometimes, an abnormal amount of protein in her urine. Preeclampsia happens in about 3 – 8% of pregnancies. Eclampsia, on the other hand, is more severe. It is defined by seizures that happen to people with preeclampsia. Although it is rare, it is more serious and can result in coma or even death.
  9. Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes is when a pregnant woman develops diabetes during pregnancy. The pregnant woman usually cannot make enough insulin, or the body doesn’t use it correctly. It builds up in the blood, causing high blood sugar. About 50% of women who develop gestational diabetes continue to develop type 2 diabetes (31).
  10. Heart conditions: Pregnant women can develop heart conditions such as coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy. Pregnancy can put more stress on the heart, making conditions worse. Symptoms include pain in the neck, chest, tummy or back. Women who have a pre-existing heart condition are considered high-risk and will need additional monitoring from their healthcare team.


What Percentage of the Population is Pregnant?

It’s hard to give accurate percentages as this specific data isn’t officially recorded. However, there are about 213 million pregnancies each year (32). With 7.8 billion people in the world, that means around 0.027% of the world is pregnant at a time.

What Is the Biggest Factor That Affects Getting Pregnant?

The biggest factors that affect fertility include birth control, female age, and the use of drugs and alcohol. To increase the chances of a positive pregnancy test, a woman would be under 35, not be using drugs and alcohol, and be off birth control. These factors can also decrease birth complications and postpartum challenges.

What Is the Longest Recorded Pregnancy Ever?

In 1945, Penny Diana was born after her mother went 99 days overdue! The mother, Beulah Hunter, was pregnant for 375 days (53.5 weeks), whereas a normal pregnancy lasts for 280 days (40 weeks). Penny Diana only weighed six pounds and 12 ounces when she was born.

Some people believe that she miscarried early on without realizing it, quickly got pregnant after, and assumed that two separate pregnancies were just one long pregnancy. As far as pregnancy statistics and facts go, this one is pretty wild!

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.