You are here:

Guinea Pigs/pregnant guinea pig Thelma


I bought thelma from a pet shop and she was plump  and then realised three weeks ago she is pregnant I wouldlike to know if she is close to labor as is so fat is bursting she is veryjumpy now and to touch her pelvic bones makes her sqweak?

Since you bought Thelma already pregnant there's no easy way to tell when she will deliver. A guinea pig's gestation is 70 days. That's ten weeks. The size of the sow is not always an indicator of how close she is.

She will not like being held while she's so heavy with child. In order to feel the pelvic ligaments you can do that with her in her cage if you're gentle. Put one hand on top of her to calm and stabilize her. Put your other hand on top of her back and gently run your middle finger down her spine and to the vent, which is the pig version of the vagina.

Don't press hard. You're not going to try to go inside her tissues. You can feel the sharp touch of the pelvic bones. With flat of your fingertip carefully put some pressure on those bones. Within approximately 48 hrs of delivery they begin to spread and become loose enough that you can feel them give to your pressure.

You might try that now so you get a feel for it. If there is no movement of those bones she is not as close as you think. The waiting is the hardest part.

You may have heard or read people say that these bones fuse together if a sow is not bred fairly young. That's not what happens. Bones that never touch one another cannot fuse together. They are held in place by ligaments, and it's those ligaments that move the bones. They can in time lose their elasticity thereby preventing the opening from spreading to allow for birth.

The exact age at which this happens is not truly known. Most breeders will breed a sow for the first time by her first birthday. That's just a generalized practice, not written in stone.

If you've never experienced the birth of a litter of guinea pigs you're in for a wonderful surprise. They are born fully furred, mouthful of teeth, eyes open and look like miniatures of the parents. They're ready to run.

Be aware that the mother will not nurse those babies until she has completely finished emptying the uterus of all afterbirth and tissue. I've had mothers wait as long as 12 hours. The babies know to stay in one spot until mom instructs otherwise. Do not interfere or try to bottle feed these pups. They will aspirate and die. Mom knows what she's doing, so let her do her job.

Once she's cleaned of the babies you can safely pick them up and hold them. She won't mind. The handling is good for them and helps to bond them with humans.

Don't be alarmed if there is a stillborn baby. It happens frequently. If there is a runt in the litter the mom will not attempt to give any extra care. She knows that it would jeopardize her healthy babies to stop for a sickly one. It's just nature's way of assuring that only the fittest survive.

She may or may not eat all the afterbirths. They look like little round grey pillows. What she doesn't take care of you can throw away. The nutrients in those placentas give her the hormones to help bring in her milk.

The babies will try to drink from the water bottles as young as two weeks. They will try to eat the pellets. They still need mom's nurturing until they're at least 4 weeks old, so don't get overzealous and try to separate them too soon. They need mamma.

Good luck to all of you and please take some pictures to send. I love seeing the new babies.

Guinea Pigs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

©2016 All rights reserved.