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Pregnancy is a temporary bodily state referencing embryonic and fetal development occurring within the body. A human pregnancy ending in vaginal or cesarean birth typically lasts just over 9 months. Although commonly understood as a biological condition, all pregnancies occur within and in relation to psychological and social contexts, which in turn influence biological fetal development. These contexts idealize, and even fetishize, certain pregnant bodies, while vilifying pregnancy in others. This entry focuses on contexts specific to North America, which include stratified reproduction, pregnancy issues that can affect perinatal psychology and mental health, and biomedicalization, biosocialities, and socially constructed expectations.

Pregnancy is saturated with (cis)gendered and heteronormative assumptions and meanings. For example, pregnancy (and subsequent childbirth) is often viewed as a formative, appropriate, and typical developmental ...

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