Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful times in a woman’s life. However, throughout the pregnancy and during the birth, women hear a lot of unfamiliar terms or phrases that may be rather puzzling.
Here is a list of the common words that all expectant mums should know and understand. With this done, when words like –cerclage or –chloasma are used, a woman will feel a little more at ease during the pregnancy and when the time comes to give birth.
Words to know!
Afterbirth: The placenta is delivered through the vagina after a vaginal birth.
Amniocentesis: A procedure where the amniotic fluid that is surrounding the baby while in the uterus is extracted. The procedure is used to checks for any potential problems with the baby such as birth defects or genetic problems. The test is done in the 15th to 20th week of pregnancy.
Amniotic fluid: The fluid surrounding the baby in the uterus.
Amniotic sac: A sac (bag) which is inside the uterus and which holds the growing baby. The sac is filled with amniotic fluid.
Anaemia: When the body does not have sufficient red blood cells or when the red blood cells are too small. Anaemia occurs when the body does not receive enough iron and this condition is very common during pregnancy.
Apgar test: A test performed directly after the baby is born. Five things are tested to make sure that baby is healthy, the baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color.
Areola: The dark area of skin that surrounds the nipple of the breast. During pregnancy the areola becomes darker and larger.
Ante-partum: Refers to before birth.
Baby blues: Feeling sad or under-the-weather in the first few days after giving birth to baby.
Bleeding or spotting: Bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy. If you are spotting during pregnancy, call your Obstetrician or caregiver immediately.
Blood transfusion: When blood is given through an intravenous (IV) line into one of the body’s blood vessels. Blood transfusions are done in order to replace blood that is lost during birth or blood is given during pregnancy if the mother is anaemic.
Bloody show: A release or discharge of stringy mucus or a thick brown, pink, or reddish discharge from the vagina. This is an indication that labour will start soon and usually within 72 hours after the show.
Braxton-Hicks contractions: Also referred to as false labour. They are contractions which helps the body to prepare for actual labour. They differ from real labour contractions in that the false contractions do not get stronger or faster.
Breech position: When the baby’s bottom or feet are facing downwards just before the birth.
Cerclage: A stitch that is inserted into the woman’s cervix in an attempt to prevent a premature birth.
Cervix: The uterus’ opening which is located at the top of the vagina.
Caesarean: Also called a c-section. A surgery in which baby is born through an incision which the doctor makes in the stomach and uterus.
Chloasma: Also referred to as the mask of pregnancy. It occurs when the skin surrounding the woman’s eyes, nose or cheeks turns brown or becomes darker during pregnancy. It fades or disappears after pregnancy.
Chorionic Villus Sampling: Or CVS – tests tissue that is removed from the placenta that detects any possible birth defects and genetic problems such as Down syndrome. A CVS is done at 10 to 12 weeks in pregnancy.
Circumcision: Removal of the foreskin from the baby’s penis.
Colostrum: A clear and sticky liquid that is released from the breasts after the birth and before the real breast milk comes in. It offers baby protection from infections.
Contraction: Occurs when the muscles of the uterus tightened and relax. Contractions assist in pushing the baby out of the uterus.
Cytomegalovirus (pronounced sye-toh-MEG-uh-loh-vye-ruhs): May be referred to as CMV. Common among young children and usually does not cause problems. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus can be passed to the baby, if this occurs, baby may face lifelong health problems or possible death.
Dilate: The cervix dilates or opens up to allow the baby out.
Dilation And Curettage: Also known as a D&C. A doctor scrapes the lining of the uterus to collect tissue. Women may have a D&C after a miscarriage.
Doppler: A type of ultrasound that is used to measure the baby’s blood flow in the umbilical cord and through various blood vessels.
Doula: An individual who has undergone special training to assist women during labour.
Ectopic pregnancy: Occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus and starts to develop. The ectopic pregnancy cannot result in the birth of a baby and can have serious problems for the woman.
Edema: Swelling. Many pregnant women experience swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, hands and face.
Efface: Thins out. The cervix effaces or thins out in preparation for the birth.
Engorgement: Breast engorgement occurs in the mammary glands as the veins expand due to the pressure of breast milk contained by the breasts.
Epidural: Medication that is administered by a needle in the lower back and the medication numbs the lower body during labour.
Episiotomy: An incision that is made at the opening of the vagina during the birth.
Foetal Fibronectin Test: A test that is done during preterm labour which monitors how much fFN protein is present in the vagina.
Folic acid: A vitamin that provides protection to the baby against various birth defects.
Full term: Refers to a pregnancy that lasts between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.
Genetic disorder: A condition that is caused by a gene that has changed from its regular form.
Genetic test: A test that’s performed to detect changes in genes that could result in birth defects or other health problems.
Gestational age: The age in weeks of a baby in the uterus.
Haemorrhoids: Veins in or around the anus that swell and possibly bleed. Haemorrhoids are common in pregnancy and after birth.
Incompetent cervix: When the cervix opens too early and before the baby is full term.
Induce labour: When a woman is given medication to start or bring on labour.
Jaundice: The baby’s eyes and skin appear yellow and it indicates the baby’s liver is immature and has not fully developed.
Linea nigra: A dark line that is seen on the tummy of some pregnant women. It runs from the belly button down to the pubic area.
Meconium: The first bowel movement of the infant. It is often green, brown or black in color.
Membrane: Tissue connecting the amniotic sac to the uterus.
Miscarriage: A foetus expelled from the womb before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Mucus plug: A mucus mass that blocks the opening of the cervix. It protects baby from infections.
Neonate: A newborn baby that is younger than 4 weeks old.
Paternity: Relates to the baby’s biological father.
Perinatal: Refers to the period from the 20th week of gestation until the 28th day after the birth.
Perineum: The area between the vagina and the rectum.
Placenta: The placenta develops in the uterus and provides the growing baby with food and oxygen via the umbilical cord.
Postpartum: Relates to the time after a baby’s birth.
Postpartum depression: When a woman experiences extreme feelings of sadness which can last for weeks or even months after the birth of the baby.
Preeclampsia: A type of high blood pressure that only affects pregnant women.
Premature birth: When birth occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Progesterone: A hormone that can assist in preventing premature labour.
Quickening: Refers to the first movements of the baby while in the womb. The feeling is often compared to the feeling of -butterflies in your tummy’.
Rh disease: A disease that is caused only when a baby who is Rh-positive is born to a mother who is Rh-negative.
Toxoplasmosis: Infection from eating meat that is undercooked or contracted when handling cat droppings.
Transverse position: When the shoulders of the baby are facing down just before the birth.
Trimester: Describes a period of 3 months. Pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters: the first, second and third trimesters.
Umbilical cord prolapsed: Occurs when the umbilical cord slips into the vagina where it may be squeezed or flattened during a vaginal delivery.
Vaccine: Medication that protects against certain diseases.