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To care for a pregnant guinea pig, you should be aware of how long the process takes, the natural progression of the pregnancy, and how to handle the animal. It’s usually a good idea to avoid picking up a pregnant guinea pig when possible; if you have to, make sure you support its hind quarters. Most guinea pigs don’t require help during the birth, which lasts about twenty minutes, but older guinea pigs may need a Cesarean.
The first step in caring for a pregnant guinea pig is to understand the process because this will help you to notice if something is wrong. A normal guinea pig gestation period is between 62 to 70 days; the larger the litter, the shorter the term. It is normal for the cavy to show no signs of the pregnancy, in both behavior and appearance, for about 28 days. As the pregnancy nears its end, the mother will start to walk differently and may show changes in behavior.
When caring for a pregnant guinea pig, be extra careful if you have to pick her up. If you need to lift up the guinea pig, make sure you support her hind legs as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to avoid anything that causes stress to the cavy. This includes sudden loud noises around the cage. Guinea pig pregnancies have been known to abort due to sudden stressful events, although this is generally uncommon.
The actual birth is often relatively short, and young guinea pigs rarely require assistance. You should always take the guinea pig to the veterinarian once you know it is pregnant so the vet can advise you on the general health of your animal. Older guinea pigs sometimes have narrower hips if they haven’t given birth before and may require a Caesarean section. Normally, the birthing process takes approximately 20 minutes and usually occurs during daylight hours.
Keep the pregnant guinea pig is kept separate from other cavies while giving birth. Guinea pigs don’t build a nest area before giving birth so a clean area is essential. Although the birth itself is often short and completed without problems, you should be constantly monitoring the mother. If the birth goes on for much longer than 20 minutes, for example, you may need to take her to a vet immediately. This is because spending too long in labor can be physically exhausting for the guinea pig.