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Pregnancy in art covers any artistic work that portrays pregnancy. In art as in life, it is often unclear whether an actual state of pregnancy is intended to be shown. A common visual indication is the gesture of the woman placing a protective open hand on her abdomen. Historically, married women were at some stage of pregnancy for much of their life until the menopause , but the depiction of this in art is relatively uncommon,  and generally restricted to some specific contexts. This probably persists even in contemporary culture; despite several recent artworks depicting heavily pregnant women, one writer was "astonished at the shortage of visual images There are two subjects often depicted in Western narrative art, or history painting , where pregnancy is an important part of the story.