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Can We Communicate Gravidity and Parity Better?

Creinin, Mitchell D. MD; Simhan, Hyagriv N. MD, MSCR

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181988f8f
Current Commentary

Communication of gravidity and parity is a typical part of any written or oral presentation related to an obstetric or gynecologic patient. The ostensible purpose of including this information at the beginning of a discussion of a woman’s care is to provide a quick context of the patient from a reproductive standpoint. Unfortunately, the systems in use for describing gravidity, parity, and reproductive outcomes are without clear epidemiologic, biologic, or clinical basis. In description of parous events, births and abortions easily can be confused in the gray zone of 20 to 24 weeks, and terminology used often fails to take into account the clinical context. In this article, we discuss the pitfalls of current systems used for describing a woman’s reproductive history and recommend new and simple nomenclature to enhance our ability to communicate properly.

Current methods of communicating gravidity and parity do not address the needs of health care providers.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and 2Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Corresponding author: Mitchell D. Creinin, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Magee-Womens Hospital, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3180; e-mail:

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2009 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.