of pregnancy terms
are a list of a-z of some pregnancy terms you may hear
while you are pregnant and some you will never hear
Termination or end of pregnancy. Giving birth to an
embryo or fetus before it can live outside the womb,
usually defined as before 20 weeks of gestation. Abortion
may be spontaneous, often called a miscarriage, or induced
as in a medical or therapeutic abortion performed to
terminate a pregnancy.
(AFP): Substance produced by the unborn baby as
it grows inside the uterus. Large amounts of AFP are
found in the amniotic fluid. Larger-than normal amounts
are found in the maternal bloodstream if neural-tube
defects are present in the fetus.
acids: Substances that act as building blocks in
the developing embryo and fetus.
Removal of amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac. Fluid
is tested for some genetic defects.
Membrane around the fetus. It surrounds the amniotic
fluid: Liquid surrounding the baby inside the amniotic
sac: Sac that surrounds baby inside the uterus.
It contains the baby, the placenta and the amniotic
Any condition in which the number of red blood cells
is less than normal. Term usually applies to the concentration
of the oxygen-transporting material in the blood, which
is the red blood cell.
Defective development of the brain combined with the
absence of the bones normally surrounding the brain.
Tumor, usually benign, or swelling composed of lymph
and blood vessels.
Lack of or cessation of ovulation.
Pigmented or colored ring surrounding the nipple of
Irregular or missed heartbeat.
Swallowing or sucking a foreign body or fluid, such
as vomit, into an airway.
uterus: Flaccid; relaxed; lack of tone.
Antibodies that attack parts of your body or your own
labour: Pain of labour felt in lower back.
Breakdown product of pigment formed in the liver from
hemoglobin during the destruction of red blood cells.
profile: Method of evaluating a fetus before birth.
Removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic study.
One of the cells egg divides into after it has been
show: Small amount of vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy;
often precedes labour.
contractions: Irregular, painless tightening of
uterus during pregnancy.
presentation: Abnormal position of the fetus. Buttocks
or legs come into the birth canal ahead of the head.
congenital: Cloudiness of the eye lens present at
section (delivery): Delivery of a baby through an
abdominal incision rather than through the vagina.
sign: Dark-blue or purple discoloration of the mucosa
of the vagina and cervix during pregnancy.
Extensive brown patches of irregular shape and size
on the face or other parts of the body.
Highly malignant cancer that grows in the uterus during
pregnancy or at the site of an ectopic pregnancy.
Outermost fetal membrane found around the amnion.
villus sampling: Diagnostic test done early in pregnancy.
A biopsy of tissue is taken from inside the uterus through
the cervical opening to determine abnormalities of pregnancy.
Thin, yellow fluid, which is the first milk to come
from the breast. Most often seen toward the end of pregnancy.
It is different in content from milk produced later
problem: Problem present at birth.
of the cervix: Surgical procedure performed on premalignant
and malignant conditions of the cervix. A large biopsy
of the cervix is taken in the shape of a cone.
twins: Twins connected at the body; they may share
vital organs. Also called Siamese twins.
Bowel movements are infrequent or incomplete.
stress test: Response of fetus to uterine contractions
to evaluate fetal well-being.
luteum: Area in the ovary where the egg is released
at ovulation. A cyst may form in this area after ovulation.
Called a corpus luteum cyst.
length: Measurement from the top of the baby's head
to the buttocks of the baby.
Inflammation of the bladder.
(CMV) infection: Group of viruses from the herpesvirus
(dilatation and curettage): Surgical procedure in
which the cervix is dilated and the lining of the uterus
delay: Condition in which the development of the
baby or child is slower than normal.
recti: Separation of abdominal muscles.
twins: Twins derived from two different eggs. Often
called fraternal twins.
Abnormal, precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix.
Difficulty or pain urinating.
(estimated date of confinement): Anticipated due
date for delivery of the baby. Calculated from the first
day of the last Period.
Convulsions and coma in a woman with pre-eclampsia.
Not related to epilepsy.
germ layer: layer in the developing embryo that
gives rise to developing structures in the fetus. These
include skin, teeth and glands of the mouth, the nervous
system and the pituitary gland.
pregnancy: Pregnancy that occurs outside the uterine
Thinning of cervix.
Organism in the early stages of development.
period: First 10 weeks of gestation.
germ layer: Area of tissue in early development
of the embryo that gives rise to other structures. These
include the digestive tract, respiratory organs, vagina,
bladder and urethra. Also called endoderm or entoderm.
cycle: Regular development of the mucous membrane
lining the inside of the uterus. It begins with the
preparation for acceptance of a pregnancy and ends with
the shedding of the lining during a menstrual period.
Mucous membrane that lines inside of the uterine wall.
Enema--Fluid injected into the rectum for the purpose
of clearing out the bowel.
Congested; filled with fluid.
Protein made by cells. It acts as a catalyst to improve
or cause chemical changes in other substances.
block: Type of anesthesia. Medication is injected
around the spinal cord during labour or other types
Surgical incision of the vulva (area behind the vagina,
above the rectum). Used during delivery to avoid tearing
or laceration of the vaginal opening and rectum.
presentation: Baby comes into the birth canal face
tube: Tube that leads from the cavity of the uterus
to the area of the ovary. Also called uterine tube.
labour: Tightening of uterus without dilatation
of the cervix.
blood sugar: Blood test to evaluate the amount of
sugar in the blood following a time period of fasting.
Joining of the sperm and egg.
age: Dating a pregnancy from the time of fertilization.
2 weeks earlier than the gestational age.
anomaly: Fetal malformation or abnormal development.
goiter: Enlargement of the thyroid in the fetus.
retardation (IUGR): Inadequate growth of the fetus
during the last stages of pregnancy.
monitor: Device used before or during labour to
listen to and record the fetal heartbeat. Can be external
monitoring (through maternal abdomen) or internal monitoring
(through maternal vagina) of the baby inside the uterus.
period: Time period following the embryonic period
(first 10 weeks of gestation) until birth.
Refers to the unborn baby after 10 weeks of gestation
Instrument used to help remove baby from the birth canal
breech: Baby presenting buttocks first. Legs are
flexed and knees extended.
counseling: Consultation between a couple and a
specialist about genetic defects and the possibility
of genetic problems in a pregnancy.
herpes simplex: Herpes simplex infection involving
the genital area. It can be significant during pregnancy
because of the danger to a newborn fetus infected with
problems: Defects or problems involving genital
organs and the bladder or kidneys.
age: Dating a pregnancy from the first day of the
last menstrual period; 2 weeks longer than fertilization
diabetes: Occurrence or worsening of diabetes during
trophoblastic disease (GTN): Abnormal pregnancy
with cystic growth of the placenta. Characterized by
bleeding during early and middle pregnancy.
test: Blood test done to evaluate the body's response
Glucose in the urine.
Contagious venereal infection, transmitted primarily
by intercourse. Caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhea.
mal seizure: loss of control of body functions.
Seizure activity of a major form.
streptococcal infection: Serious infection occurring
in the mother's vagina and throat.
Prominent, rounded elevation found on the surface of
the brain tissue.
abortion: Occurrence of three or more spontaneous
Discomfort or pain that occurs in the chest. Often occurs
Determines the proportion of blood cells to plasma.
Important in diagnosing anemia.
Pigment in red blood cell that carries oxygen to body
disease: Destruction of red blood cells.
Dilated blood vessels in the rectum or rectal canal.
chorionic gonadatropin (HCG): Hormone produced in
early pregnancy.Measured in a pregnancy test.
placental lactogen: Hormone of pregnancy produced
by the placenta. Found in the bloodstream.
membrane disease: Respiratory disease of the newborn.
Increased amniotic fluid.
Excessive accumulation of fluid around the brain of
the baby. Sometimes called water on the brain.
Extremely high level of bilirubin in the blood.
gravidarum: Severe nausea, dehydration and vomiting
during pregnancy. Occurs most frequently during the
Increased blood sugar.
Pregnancy-induced-High blood pressure that occurs
during pregnancy. Defined by an increase in the diastolic
and/or systolic blood pressure.
Elevation of the thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
Defective or incomplete development or formation of
Low blood pressure.
Low or inadequate levels of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
globulin preparation: Substance used to protect
against infection with certain diseases, such as hepatitis
utero: Within the uterus.
cervix: Cervix that dilates painlessly, without
abortion: Miscarriage in which part, but not all,
of the uterine contents are expelled.
abortion: Pregnancy complicated with bleeding and
cramping. Usually results in miscarriage.
Peptide hormone made by the pancreas. It promotes the
use of glucose.
squamous-cell carcinoma: Cancer of the cervix that
extends beyond the cervix into surrounding tissues or
anemia: Anemia produced by lack of iron in the diet.
Often seen in pregnancy.
Development of specific antibody directed at the red
blood cells of another individual, such as a baby in
utero. Often occurs when an Ph-negative woman carries
an Ph-positive baby or is given Rh-positive blood.
Yellow staining of the skin, sclera (eyes) and deeper
tissues of the body. Caused by excessive amounts of
bilirubin. Treated with phototherapy.
Breakdown product of metabolism found in the blood,
particularly in starvation or uncontrolled diabetes.
stones: Small mass or lesion found in the kidney
or urinary tract. Can block the flow of urine.
Process of expelling a fetus from the uterus.
Minor surgical procedure performed for tubal ligation,
diagnosis of pelvic pain or diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy.
Vaginal discharge characterized by a white or yellowish
colour. Primarily composed of mucus.
Change in the shape of the pregnant uterus a few weeks
before labour. Often described as the baby "dropping."
nigra: line of increased pigmentation running down
the abdomen from the bellybutton to the pubic area during
GTN: Cancerous change of gestational trophoblastic
X-ray study of the breasts to identify normal and abnormal
of pregnancy: Increased pigmentation over the area
of the face under each eye. Commonly has the appearance
of a butterfly.
First intestinal discharge of the newborn; green or
yellow in colour. It consists of epithelial or surface
cells, mucus and bile. Discharge may occur before or
during labour or soon after birth.
Pigmented mole or tumor. It may or may not be cancerous.
Congenital defect of the central nervous system of the
baby. Membranes and the spinal cord protrude through
an opening or defect in the vertebral column.
Regular or Periodic discharge of a bloody fluid from
germ layer: Tissue of the embryo that forms connective
tissue, muscles, kidneys, ureters and other organs.
Change in the structure of a tissue into another type
that is not normal for that tissue.
Abnormally small development of the head in the developing
Abnormally small eyeballs.
abortion: Failed pregnancy without bleeding or cramping.
Often diagnosed by ultrasound weeks or months after
a pregnancy fails.
Pain that coincides with release of an egg from the
vulvovaginitis: Infection caused by yeast or monilia.
Usually affects the vagina and vulva.
twins: Twins conceived from one egg. Often called
sickness: Nausea and vomiting, with ill health,
found primarily during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Cells resulting from the early division of the fertilized
egg at the beginning of pregnancy.
plug: Secretions in cervix; often released just
Change in the character of a gene. Passed from one cell
division to another.
defects: Abnormalities in the development of the
spinal cord and brain in a fetus. See Anencephaly; Hydrocephalus;
Lack or deficiency of amniotic fluid.
Presence of congenital outpouching of the umbilicus
containing internal organs in the fetus or newborn infant.
Development of the organ systems in the embryo.
cycle: Regular production of hormones from the ovary
in response to hormonal messages from the brain. The
ovarian cycle governs the endometrial cycle.
Cyclic production of an egg from the ovary.
Medication that causes uterine contractions.
smear: A Routine screening test that evaluates presence
of premalignant or cancerous conditions of the cervix.
block: local anesthetic for cervical dilatation.
Evaluation of the size of the birth canal or pelvis.
Performed by X-ray.
mal seizure: Attack of a brief nature with possible
short impairment of consciousness. Often associated
with blinking or flickering of the eyelids and a mild
twitching of the mouth.
glycerol: lipoprotein present when fetal lungs are
Fat-containing phosphorous. The most important are
lecithins and sphingomyelin, which are important in
the maturation of fetal lungs before birth.
anemia of pregnancy: Anemia during pregnancy caused
by an increase in the amount of plasma (fluid) in the
blood compared to the number of cells in the blood.
Organ inside the uterus that is attached to the baby
by the umbilical cord. Essential during pregnancy for
growth and development of the embryo and fetus. Also
accreta: Placenta that attaches to muscle of uterus.
increta: Placenta that grows into muscle of uterus.
percreta: Placenta that penetrates muscle of uterus.
previa: low attachment of the placenta, covering
or very close to the cervix.
abruption: Premature separation of the placenta
from the uterus.
Abnormally large growth of the placenta during pregnancy.
Inflammation of the lungs.
baby: Baby born before 38 weeks.
blues: Mild depression after delivery. Postpartum
depression-Depression after delivery.
hemorrhage: Bleeding greater than 15 ounces (450ml)
at time of delivery. Pre-eclampsia-Combination of symptoms
significant to pregnancy, including high blood pressure,
edema, swelling and changes in reflexes.
delivery: Delivery before 38 weeks gestation. Presentation-Describes
which part of the baby comes into the birth canal first.
Protein in urine.
gravidarum: Itching during pregnancy.
symphysis: Bony prominence in the pelvic bone found
in the midline. Landmark from which the doctor often
measures during pregnancy to follow growth of the uterus.
embolism: Blood clot from another part of the body
that travels to the lungs. Can cause closed passages
in the lungs and decrease oxygen exchange.
Serious kidney infection.
Feeling the baby move inside the uterus.
Absence of rhesus antibody in the blood.
Medication given during pregnancy and following
delivery to pre- vent isoimmunization. See Isoimmunization.
pain: Pain caused by stretching ligament on the
sides of the uterus during pregnancy.
of membranes: loss of fluid from the amniotic sac.
Also called breaking of waters.
Sudden onset of a convulsion.
anemia: Anemia caused by abnormal red blood cells
shaped like a sickle or a cylinder.
trait: Presence of the trait for sickle-cell anemia.
Not sickle-cell disease itself.
crisis: Painful episode caused by sickle-cell disease.
Element found in many foods, particularly salt. Ingestion
of too much sodium may cause fluid retention.
bifida: Congenital abnormality characterized by
a defect in the vertebral column. Membranes of the spinal
cord and the spinal cord protrude outside the protective
bony canal of the spine.
anesthesia: Anesthesia given in the spinal canal.
abortion: loss of pregnancy during the first 20
weeks of gestation.
Estimation of the descent of the baby. Ranges from -4
to +4. 0 = directly at pelvis.
Area on the ovary where the egg has been released at
the time of ovulation.
marks: Areas of the skin that are tom or stretched.
Often found on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks and legs.
Groove or furrow on the surface of the brain.
Phospholipid present in the lungs. Controls surface
tension of lungs. Premature babies often lack sufficient
amounts of surfactant to breathe without assistance.
Sexually transmitted venereal infection caused by treponema
disease: Inherited disease characterized by mental
and physical retardation, convulsions, enlargement of
the head and eventually death. Trait is usually carried
by Ashkenazi Jews.
Dilatation or swelling of a small blood vessel. Sometimes
called an angioma. During pregnancy, another common
name is a spider angioma.
Causes abnormal development.
Group of inherited disorders of hemoglobin metabolism,
which results in a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin
abortion: Bleeding during the first trimester of
pregnancy without cramping or contractions.
Formation of a blood clot (thrombus).
Monilial or yeast infection occurring in the mouth
or mucous membranes of a newborn infant.
disease: Abnormality of the thyroid gland and its
production of thyroid hormone.
Stopping contractions during premature labour.
Infection caused by toxoplasma gondii.
lie: Fetus is turned sideways in uterus.
vaginitis: Venereal infection caused by trichomonas.
Method of dividing pregnancy into three equal time periods
of about 13 weeks each.
Cell layer important in early development of the
embryo and fetus. It provides nourishment from the mother
to the fetus and participates in the formation of the
cord: Cord that connects the placenta to the developing
baby. It removes waste products and carbon dioxide from
the baby and brings oxygenated blood and nutrients from
the mother through the placenta to the baby.
Tubes from the kidneys to the bladder that drain urine.
atony: lack of tone of uterus.
Organ an embryo/fetus grows in. Also called a womb.
extractor: Device used to provide traction on fetal
head during delivery.
veins: Blood vessels (veins) that are dilated or
Fatty substance made up of epithelial cells that
covers fetal skin inside the uterus.
Projection from a mucous membrane. Most important within
the placenta in the exchange of nutrients from maternal
blood to the placenta and fetus.
infection: See Monilial vulvovaginitis; Thrush.
Cell that results from the union of a sperm and egg
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