3-0. Introduction

Many changes occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. These changes, although most apparent in the reproductive organs, involve other body systems as well. Weeks may pass before the female realizes she has become pregnant or she may learn upon a visit to a doctor for other reasons. Confirmation of her pregnancy is most important for both the mother and the fetus. It is then when she can begin receiving medical care for the health and welfare of herself and the baby. In this lesson, we will cover key definitions and present presumptive, probable, and positive signs of pregnancy along with tests used to determine pregnancy.


Gravida. A pregnant woman. This refers to any pregnancy regardless of duration.

Para. A woman who has delivered a viable young (not necessarily living at birth). Para is used with numerals to designate the number of pregnancies that have resulted in the birth of a viable offspring.

Nulligravida. A woman who has never been pregnant.

Nullipara. A woman who has not delivered a child who reached viability.

Primigravida. A woman pregnant for the first time.

Primipara. A woman who has delivered one child after the age of viability.

Multigravida. A woman who has been pregnant more than once.

Multipara. A woman who has delivered two or more fetuses past the age of viability. It does not matter whether they are born dead or alive.

Grandmultipara. A woman who has had six or more births past the age of viability.

Viability. Refers to the capability of a fetus to survive outside the uterus after the earliest gestational age (approximately 22 to 23 weeks gestation).

In utero. Refers to within the uterus.


In referring to the avove definitions, the information is abbreviated as parity/gravidity. For example, "0/1" means that a woman has not carried a pregnancy to viability (nullipara) and is pregnant for the first time (primigravida).

The table below shows parity and gravidity using a five-digit system:

Table 3-1. Five-Digit System.



Jane is pregnant for the first time. 1 0 0 0 0
She carries the pregnancy to term and the neonate survives. 1 1 0 0 1
She is pregnant again. 2 1 0 0 1
Her second pregnancy ends in abortion. 2 1 0 1 1
During her third pregnancy, she delivers viable twins. 3 2 0 1 3


A - Times uterus has been pregnant.
B - Number of deliveries.
C - Number of premature deliveries.
D - Number of abortions (spontaneous or theraputic).
E - Number of living children.

Please Read Carefully

It is essential that you regard this course as a study aid.  Procedures involving the use of drugs and invasive procedures must be supervised by licensed professionals in a fully accredited educational institution. Free-Ed.Net, SweetHaven Publishing Services, and their affiliates will assume no liability for the improper use and consequence of the information contained herein.