Words to Know

You need to know the meaning of the following words frequently used during pregnancy time-

Abdomen Belly, tummy or stomach.
Afterbirth The placenta. It provides the baby with food and oxygen. It’s attached to your baby by the umbilical cord.
Amniotic fluid The liquid the baby floats in inside the uterus. Sometimes called ‘the waters’.
Amniotic sac The bag holding the fluid and the baby inside the uterus.
Amniotomy A midwife or doctor breaks the amniotic sac which holds the fluid and the baby inside the uterus.
Anaesthetist A doctor who specialises in providing pain relief.
Anaemia A deficiency in the number or quality of red blood cells.
Antenatal (Prenatal) The time during pregnancy, up until labour and birth.
Anus The back passage.
Areola The circular dark area around the nipple.
Apnoea The baby stops breathing and needs help to start again.
Augmentation Medical treatment which may help labour to progress.
Birth canal Vagina.
Birth plan A written plan which says what you would like to happen during labour and birth.
Birth weight The weight of the baby when it’s first born. ‘Low birth weight’ means weighing less than 2500 grams.
Braxton Hicks contractions Contractions that some women feel in late pregnancy. They are not labour contractions – more like the body practising for labour.
Breech birth When the baby is born feet or bottom first.
Caesarean section operation An operation to deliver the baby. The doctor cuts the abdomen and uterus open to remove the baby.
Cervix The neck of the uterus.
Contraction When the muscles in the uterus (womb) tighten.
Diaphragm The muscle between your chest and your abdomen.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) A condition caused by a clot in one of the deep veins of the body.
Ectopic pregnancy When a fertilised egg attaches anywhere outside the uterus, most commonly in a fallopian tube.
EDB Short for estimated date of birth, which is the estimated date your baby is due.
Embryo The baby is known as an embryo until about the 12th week of pregnancy.
Epidural A type of anaesthetic that makes you numb below the waist.
Episiotomy A surgical cut in the area between the mother’s vagina and anus that may be done during labour.
Fallopian tubes Tubes that lead from each ovary to the uterus.
Fetus The baby is known as a fetus after about the 12th week of pregnancy.
Folate/Folic Acid An important B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits and grains. It’s also available in supplement form.
Forceps Surgical instruments that fit around the baby’s head. They can be used to help the baby out of the vagina.
Genetic counsellor A health professional who provides information and support if there is a risk that your baby has a genetic condition.
General Practitioner (GP) A local medical practitioner (doctor) who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education.
Gestation The length of pregnancy usually measured in weeks.
Hypertension High blood pressure.
Induction An intervention to start the labour rather than waiting for it to happen naturally.
Internal examination The doctor or midwife puts two gloved fingers into the vagina to check on the progress of labour.
Intervention Using a medical treatment or instrument to help in labour or birth (e.g. forceps or an induction).
Jaundice A yellowness of the skin, sometimes seen in newborns.
Lactation consultant A health professional with extra training to support women experiencing breastfeeding challenges.
Lochia Bleeding from the vagina in the weeks after giving birth.
Mastitis Inflammation or infection of the breast.
Midwife Health professional who cares for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour, birthing and the postnatal period.
Miscarriage The loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Neonatal To do with the first 28 days after birth. ‘Neonatal care’ means care of newborn babies.
Neonatologist Doctor who specialises in caring for newborn babies especially if the baby is unwell.
Nuchal Translucency Test An ultrasound scan to screen for congenital conditions in a baby.
Obstetrician Doctor who specialises in caring for women during pregnancy, labour and birthing.
Ovary Ovary produces eggs (ova). Women have two ovaries.
Ovum Egg produced by the ovary.
Paediatrician Doctor who specialises in caring for babies and children.
Pap smear test A screening test for cervical cancer.
Pelvic floor A group of muscles which supports your uterus, bladder and bowel.
Perineum The area between the vagina and anus.
Placenta This provides the baby with food and oxygen while in the uterus. It’s attached to the inside of your uterus at one end and at the other to the baby via its umbilical cord. It’s also called the afterbirth.
Placenta praevia When the placenta is close to or covers the cervix.
Postnatal (Postpartum period) The first six weeks after the baby is born.
Postpartum haemorrhage Heavier than normal bleeding after giving birth.
Pre-eclampsia Serious condition with symptoms of very high blood pressure, headaches and visual disturbances.
Premature When a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy.
Quickening When the mother first feels the baby moving in pregnancy.
Show Passing the mucus ‘plug’ which seals the cervix.
Stillbirth When a baby dies in the uterus and is born after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Trimester Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester is from week 1 to week 12, the second trimester is from week 13 to week 26 and the third trimester is from week 27 to the birth of the baby.
Ultrasound A way of looking inside the body from the outside using sound waves. These tests are used in pregnancy to check on the size, growth and wellbeing of the baby.
Umbilical cord The cord that joins the placenta to the baby.
Uterus Womb The part of the body where the baby grows.
Vacuum extraction A process to help the mother deliver the baby. A cup-like instrument is attached to the baby’s head in the vagina using suction. The doctor then pulls gently while the mother pushes the baby out.
Vagina Birth canal.
VBAC Vaginal Birth After Caesarean section operation.