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Can I use "carry a child" to replace "carry a pregnancy"? Are there any single-word verbs I can use in this sense?

Surrogacy is an arrangement or agreement whereby a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for another person or persons, who will become the newborn child's parent(s) after birth.

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  • Could you provide a sample sentence in which we might try to fit a single-word verb? "Carry a child" is in use, according to Google. Feb 19, 2017 at 10:47
  • I am curious why you ask for "single-word verbs". And are you specifically asking about surrogacy, or just being pregnant in general terms? Feb 19, 2017 at 12:50

3 Answers 3

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You would not normally use the term "carry a pregnancy" in everyday English. It is very common to hear the phrase "to carry a child" or "to carry child". The example you cited appears to be a technical definition that uses the more formal medical language "to carry a pregnancy", but again you would generally not use this phrase in everyday writing or speech.

Other common ways of referring to a pregnancy:

  • to be expecting (She is expecting.)
  • to be pregnant (She is pregnant.)
  • to be with child (She is with child.)
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  • +1 for the medical language info ( to carry a pregnancy). Wouldn't you say that to carry child was also a medical collocation, not used colloquially? Feb 19, 2017 at 12:48
  • Good point. But I think something like "to carry child to full term", while not colloquial, is fairly common in informal speech/writing and probably shouldn't be grouped as a medical phrase.
    – Rich
    Feb 19, 2017 at 12:58
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    I don't think I've heard "carry a pregnancy" except in reference to when it ended, specifically with "carrying a pregnancy to term."
    – fectin
    Feb 19, 2017 at 18:01
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    At least in the US, "with child" is archaic. I can't comment on other countries. Feb 19, 2017 at 20:17
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    @Matt . . .and in the UK. Anyone using 'she is with child' would sound like they were using it ironically, or humorously.
    – peterG
    Feb 19, 2017 at 20:21
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Simply, yes. It is common to say "carry a child" as a euphemism for being pregnant.

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For a single word verb with the same meaning, you can use gestate. From Collins Dictionaries:

  1. (transitive) to carry (developing young) in the uterus during pregnancy
    ‘How incredible would it be to gestate a baby and spawn it?.
    Times, Sunday Times (2013)’

I should point out that this is a technical-sounding term. In casual conversation it will usually sound tongue-in-cheek, like the example above. This joking sort of usage is how I've mostly used it ("I can't do the dishes, honey, I'm too exhausted from gestating all day"). It would fit in your academic-sounding example, though:

Surrogacy is an arrangement or agreement whereby a woman agrees to gestate (a[n] embryo/fetus/baby/child) for another person or persons, who will become the newborn child's parent(s) after birth.

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