When I discovered I was pregnant I also discovered a new language and new exercises for 2nd trimester which has to be done for the welfare of both mother and the child. Below is a selection of terms and acronyms (often used in online speak!) that I have discovered during my journey.
AF – Aunt Flo (period)
Ovulation – the release of an egg in a woman which happens once a month
Conception – the joining of the egg and the sperm
BFP – Big Fat Positive (refers to a positive pregnancy test)
BFN – Big Fat Negative (refers to a negative pregnancy test)
hCG – the pregnancy hormone that is detected by pregnancy tests and contributes to early pregnancy symptoms
Morning sickness -the nausea and vomiting associated with early pregnancy – although it can occur any time of the day
hyperemesis gravidarum– severe morning sickness which often results in hospitalisation for rehydration, rest and often anti sickness medication
Spontaneous abortion – the medical term for a miscarriage
Miscarriage – the natural loss of an embryo or fetus before 24 weeks. Most miscarriages take place in trimester 1 – by 12 weeks, however there are a small number that occur later in the pregnancy.
Still birth – the birth of a non living fetus. A still birth occurs when the baby is delivered that has died in the womb.
Trimester – pregnancy is divided between three trimesters approximately 3 months or 13 weeks each
Vaginal delivery – birth of a baby via the birth canal
C-section – surgical delivery of a baby via an incision in the abdomen
Forceps – an intervention in the delivery of a baby that involves a medical utensil called a forceps that is wrapped around a baby’s head to help pull baby out.
Vacuum – an intervention in the delivery of a baby that involves a medical utensil which is attached to the baby’s head (using a vacuum) to help pull baby out.
Epidural – a method of anesthesia and pain relief used during labour / c-section
Placenta – the new (temporary!) organ that is created to link baby with mammy in the womb – allowing fluid, blood supplies and “food” to baby.
Placenta previa – where the placenta blocks the cervix and therefore the birth canal. Where placenta previa persists in late pregnancy a c-section is generally indicated.
Pre-eclampsia – a serious medical complication that develops usually in late pregnancy which involves high blood pressure and protein the urine. The only known cure is immediate delivery of the baby either via c-section or induction of labour.
Scan – ultrasound scan is a way of taking a picture of inside your womb and see and check health of baby
Embryo – during pregnancy a baby is referred to as an embryo when it is in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy
Fetus – during pregnancy a baby is referred to as a fetus after the first 8 weeks when it moves into the fetal stage of the pregnancy
Breech – baby in a head up position (when it should ideally be head down). A c-section is generally indicated however some practitioners will carry out a breech vaginal delivery
Cephalic – baby in a head down position in preparation for birth
Transverse lie – where a baby is lying across the womb – this position is the most problematic and generally a normal delivery is not possible
Gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes that occurs only in pregnancy
Trisomy – occurence of three chromosomes where there should only be two. A common human trisomy is Downs syndrome
Induction of labour – bringing labour on before it would otherwise have naturally started. Induction can be via natural means or more commonly artificially started.
Prostaglandin – a hormone associated with birth. An artificial version of this hormone is used in the artificial induction of labour
oxytocin – a hormone most associated with during and after birth
Pitocin – an artificial form of oxytocin often used to accelerate labour
Sweep – a natural but artificial way to try to induce labour by sweeping a finger around the neck of the cervix – debatable regarding its effectiveness!
Rupture of membranes – when the amniotic sac that the baby is held in, surrounded by fluid breaks and the fluid leaks or gushes out of the vagina – also known as breaking of the waters. Here is a great article on pelvic pain and how to deal with it.
Are there any other pregnancy / birth terms that you have come across that you want a lay persons explanation for? Just post in the comments section below and we will update the list!
Thanks for the acronyms! How many weeks pregnant can you deliver safely? Please post more about it!