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updated: 9/3/2014 9:43 AM

Pregnancy rare for member of Congress

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  • U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, announced she is expecting a daughter.

       U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, announced she is expecting a daughter.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer


U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth's pregnancy is a rarity in Congress as the Hoffman Estates Democrat is set to become only the 10th sitting federal lawmaker in history to give birth.

A 2008 report from the Congressional Research Service listed six members who have given birth in office, starting with Yvonne Braithwaite Burke of California in 1973. The rest have come since 1995, making births to members of Congress a relatively recent happening. All have been in the House.

Since the 2008 report, three more lawmakers have followed, most recently with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington delivering her third child last year.

Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in 2004 after her helicopter was hit with a grenade in Iraq, announced Monday she and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey are expecting a daughter, due Dec. 5.

"I am so thrilled I'm going to be a mother here in just four months," she said on NBC's "Today."

Monday morning, she posted online a photo of a small shirt that said "heli baby."

Duckworth, 46, told the Daily Herald that Iraq veterans can face fertility issues.

"It's a high-risk pregnancy," she said. "We've been trying for five years. The docs think that there's real high potential for me to be on bed rest for November and for me to deliver early."

"I am deathly terrified I'm going to lose the baby," she said.

Duckworth is bidding for re-election in November against Republican Larry Kaifesh, a fellow veteran from Carpentersville.

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