If you think your guinea pig might be pregnant, here are some things to consider as you take care of her during her pregnancy.
Facts to Know
- Female guinea pigs (sows) can get pregnant once they reach 4-6 weeks old.
- A male guinea pig (boar) can impregnate a female once he reaches 3-5 weeks old.
- A pregnant female can get pregnant again right after she gives birth (which is SO not a good idea!)
- Pregnancy can be hard on guinea pigs. There are statistics showing that 20% of pregnant guinea pigs die or have serious complications resulting from pregnancy.
- A guinea pig stays pregnant for about two months. Pregnancy can last from 58-72 days, and the average is about 65 days.
- Baby guinea pigs will wean after 2-3 weeks.
- Guinea pigs can give birth to anywhere from 1 to 9 pups. The average litter size is around 3-4 pups, but it varies depending on how old she is, how many pregnancies she’s had, and how close together her pregnancies are.
How to Tell if Your Guinea Pig is Pregnant
At the beginning of a guinea pig pregnancy, you won’t be able to tell if your female guinea pig is pregnant or not.
However, if she’s at least 4 weeks old and has been around a boar (boy) who is at least 3 weeks old, there’s a pretty good chance she could be pregnant!
One of the first hints of a guinea pig pregnancy is that she will eat and drink more. As the pregnancy progresses, the amount of food and water intake will likely increase.
However, eating and drinking more isn’t a definitive pregnancy diagnosis! Guinea pigs can up their food and water intake if it’s cold, if it’s too hot, or when they have certain illnesses. But it’s one signal you can look for.
Of course, you could take your guinea pig to a vet. They can give you a definitive diagnosis right away.
After the second week, though, you should be able to feel the babies in her uterus. You certainly don’t want to grab her and squeeze to try to find out! But you can gently feel around in a circular motion with your thumb for lumps and bumps.
To Be Sure…
Once again, feeling lumps and bumps isn’t a definitive diagnosis by itself, since there are other reasons for lumps and bumps, like tumors and cysts. If you feel lumps, and you still don’t know if she’s pregnant, be sure to take her to a vet and get those checked.
If she’s not so young that she’s still growing, you can check her weight weekly to see if she’s gaining weight, as well. During the course of pregnancy, her weight can double! A normal, non-pregnant guinea pig weighs about 1.6/a>, and at full term, a pregnant guinea pig can weigh between 2.2 – 3 pounds.
One of these symptoms may or may not indicate pregnancy, but taken together, you can probably figure out if your guinea pig is pregnant if she has two or more of the indicators mentioned. To recap:
- She’s older than 4 weeks and has been around a boar that’s at least 3 weeks old
- Your guinea pig is eating or drinking more than normal
- She’s bigger around the abdomen or gaining weight
- You can feel bumps in her abdomen
- And of course, a vet tested her and told you so!
Developmental Milestones in a Guinea Pig Pregnancy
Here are some developmental milestones during a guinea pig’s pregnancy:
- The heartbeat of a guinea pig fetus can be detected at about day 5.one implantation sites.
- Guinea pigs have a placenta that is pretty similar to the human placenta (with regard to how it functions), but guinea pigs also have a separate sub-placenta and a yolk sac placenta (which humans don’t have).
- Here’s an illustration showing the uterus of a pregnant guinea pig from the of California San Diego: