What does the Bible say about pregnancy?

According to Scripture, pregnancy is a blessing. Moses declared to the Israelites, "[God] will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock" (Deuteronomy 7:13–14). Abundance in vegetation, livestock, and childbearing were ways God planned to bless His people when they followed His covenant. The psalmist recognized this truth and wrote, "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them" (Psalm 127:3–5a). So the ability to bear children is a blessing.

Unfortunately, one consequence of sin in the world is that conception and childbearing is often fraught with pain, grief, and sorrow (Genesis 3:16). Many women in the Bible experienced infertility and barrenness starting with Abraham's wife Sarah (Genesis 11:30). Their son's wife Rebekah then struggled to get pregnant (Genesis 25:21). Rebekah and Isaac's son's wives, Leah and Rachel, each spent time unable to conceive (Genesis 29:31; 30:9). Manoah's wife was barren before conceiving Samson (Judges 13:2) as was Hannah before conceiving Samuel (1 Samuel 1:2). Infertility has been a common problem since sin entered the world. It is important to note, however, that infertility is not a sign of a woman's personal sin. God's Word declared about Zechariah and Elizabeth, "And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years" (Luke 1:6–7). So despite Elizabeth walking blamelessly and being righteous before God, she still could not get pregnant.

It is clear that any time a woman does conceive, it is a direct result of God's hand at work to bring blessing to her life. Eve, the very first mother, when "she conceived and bore Cain," declared "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD" (Genesis 4:1). Scripture records, "Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived" (Genesis 25:21). "When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren" (Genesis 29:31). "Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb" (Genesis 30:22). So it is God who opens these wombs and enables pregnancies and childbearing.

Furthermore, God is active in creating and sustaining the developing life inside a mother's womb. Job asks, "Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?" (Job 31:15). Job recognized that God forms each person as they grow in their mother's womb. In fact, God declared to the entire nation of Israel, "Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen" (Isaiah 44:2). God was reminding the Israelites that He had been there taking care of them since before they were born. David wrote to God in Psalm 139:13–14, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." David saw his body, his soul, and his life as a masterpiece of God's handiwork that started when God stitched him together inside his mother's womb.

Another important aspect to note is that the developing fetus inside a pregnant woman's body is a unique human life of its own. God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). So God planned for Jeremiah and had a purpose for his life even before he was born. An angel told Zechariah that his son John "will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15). This prediction came true when Jesus' mother Mary arrived to visit John's mother Elizabeth. "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb" (Luke 1:41). Even while in the womb, God enabled John to recognize the presence of the Messiah, Jesus, who was, at that point, still in the womb Himself. So these unborn babies have their own identities and personalities long before going through the process of birth.

Because pregnancy is a blessing and we recognize God's hand at work to bring new life, we should be filled with joy and gladness and rejoice like Elizabeth's community (Luke 1:14). "And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her" (Luke 1:58). Elizabeth had waited a lifetime for a child and baby John was the answer to many prayers.

However, the circumstances into which some babies are born could be a reason for grief and mourning. God calls us to not only "Rejoice with those who rejoice," but also to "mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15, NIV). Even Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'" (Luke 23:28–29). So depending on the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, grief may be an appropriate response. However, it is a grief for the broken world into which the baby will be born, not grief that the baby exists. This creation of life is a miracle of God's for which He should be exalted. It is not only a time to praise God for this blessing of pregnancy, but also an opportunity to show extra compassion and care toward the mother.

God paints a beautiful word picture about how He cares for His people like a shepherd cares for His sheep. He says, "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11). God recognizes that pregnant and postpartum mothers are often tired, weak, and in need of gentle care. He extends this compassionate care to those who need it and invites His people to join Him in this ministry.

The Bible teaches that pregnancy is a blessing of God's hand at work to create a new, unique life for which we should extend praise to God and gentle care toward the childbearing woman.

Related Truth:

What is the sanctity of life? Why do Christians believe in the sanctity of life?

What does it mean that humanity is created in the image of God?

What does the Bible say about infertility?

Does the Bible talk about miscarriage?

Should children always be considered a blessing from God?

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