A-Z Pregnancy Terms
When you’re pregnant, you are bombarded with millions of pregnancy terms. Some scientific, some colloquialisms. There is so much to learn that it can be overwhelming, but it also can be really interesting. Thanks to PregnancyToday.com’s glossary of pregnancy terms, looking up all these crazy words we hear is easy and kind of fun. Let’s take a look at a few:
Apgar Score: The measurement of a newborn’s response to birth and life outside the womb. Appearance (color), pulse (heartbeat), grimace (reflex), activity (muscle tone), and respiration (breathing).
Braxton-Hicks: Practice contractions that occur at various times during pregnancy.
Cord blood: The blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. Some people now store this blood as it contains stem cells.
Doppler: A device which employs ultrasound to listen to the fetal heart.
Epidural: A small amount of anesthesia inserted through a narrow catheter threaded through a needle inserted into the dura space near the spinal cord.
Fontanelle: One of two soft spots between the un-fused sections of the baby’s skull.
Gestational Age: How old the fetus is, counted from the first day of the last menstrual period.
Hemorrhoid: Enlarged veins in the anus or rectum, generally caused by constipation or straining to have a bowel movement. Very common in pregnancy or after childbirth.
Implantation: The process that involves attachment of the embryo to the lining of the uterus.
Jaundice: A somewhat common condition in newborn babies, marked by a yellowing of the skin and caused by the immature liver’s inability to process excess red blood cells.
Kegel exercises: Exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor during delivery and help recover from childbirth, done by contracting and holding the muscles used to stop the flow of urine.
Lightening: When the baby drops in preparation for delivery.
Mucous plug: Pinkish mucous discharge that you may see when the cervix starts to open. Also called the bloody show and considered a sign that labor will begin soon.
Naegele’s Rule: A method used for estimating a woman’s due date. The date is determined by taking the first day of the last menstrual period, adding seven days, subtracting three months and adding one year.
Orienting response: The reflex that causes organisms to respond immediately to a change in their environment (i.e. a baby in utero turning towards lights.)
Preeclampsia: A precursor to eclampsia, this is a condition involving high blood pressure, swelling due to fluid retention, and abnormal kidney function.
Quickening: Baby’s first movements felt by the mom.
Rh factor: Occurs in Rh positive infants whose mothers have Rh negative blood (lacking the Rh factor) and the father has Rh positive blood. If some of the baby’s Rh positive blood cells get into the mother’s blood stream, her body produces antibodies that will try to fight them off. If this happens during pregnancy or childbirth, the mother’s cells try to destroy the baby’s red blood cells.
Stork bite: Small pink or red patches found on a baby’s eyelids, between the eyes, on the upper lip, and on the back of the neck.
Toxemia: Pregnancy-induced hypertension, a dangerous condition that may occur during pregnancy. Symptoms may include elevated maternal blood pressure, swelling of ankles and hands, sudden weight gain, and protein in the urine.
Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to view and examine the fetus.
Villi: Projection from a mucous membrane. Is important in the placenta for the exchange of nutrients from the mom’s blood to the fetus.
Water birth: A birth that takes place in a sterile birthing tub or pool.
Xray: Low-dose radiation used to take pictures of inside of the body. Not advised during pregnancy, or extreme caution must be taken.
Yeast infection: Is a type of vaginitis—inflammation of the vagina—characterized by vaginal irritation, intense itchiness, and vaginal discharge. Common in pregnant women.
Zygote: The cell that is the result of fertilization.