When I was pregnant a couple years back and glanced at my medical chart, they were just letters and numbers: G6P2. If you are or have ever been pregnant, you have some numbers too. I’ll tell you what they mean.
The “G” stands for “gravida,” which is a Latin word for “pregnant.” In obstetrics, a “G” and then a number means how many times a woman has been pregnant — often including the pregnancy she’s experiencing right now, the one for which we’re seeing her.
The “P,” then, stands for “parity,” a word that means, essentially, the condition of having borne children — in this case, the number of children. You might hear the term “primiparous” — abbreviated to “primip” — for a first-pregnancy mother or “multip” for a woman who’s had several pregnancies and live babies.
Oh, and I love it when I get to work with a “GRAND-multip,” or a woman who’s had, well, quite a few pregnancies and babies. (Grand-multips ARE grand.)
Today, I sit — hopefully for forever — at a G6P3, meaning I’ve been pregnant six times and given birth to three children. I’m happy to have been fruitful and multiplied, but may I never be a G7.
But did you catch that? The disparity? I’ve been pregnant six times and have given birth to a live baby only three times.
That means, friends, that three of my babies died before they were anywhere close to viable outside the womb — what we call “miscarriages” or, medically speaking, “spontaneous abortions.”
I’ve had three of them.
I’d been married all of three months when I became pregnant at age 31. It was as exciting as you’d think: watching the double pink line show up on the stick, checking it again, and feeling my then-flatter abdomen. Was there really something in there?
Because I’m crazy obsessive and love to tackle a project, I went to work on this pregnancy, birth, baby thing. I mean hard-core: I was signed up for childbirth education and learning to breathe through labor pains before I was even two months’ pregnant.
Looking back, I see a few kind people attempted to caution me. I remember one mother, a co-worker, telling me she didn’t announce her pregnancy until she was at least 12 weeks along because that’s when the risk of miscarriage dropped significantly. (She was right about that. Sixteen weeks is even better.)
I didn’t listen — way too excited and, perhaps glib and overconfident that my body, simply, would not do that. After all, I was already planning baby names and buying sleepers.