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More Labor & Birth Terms Every Woman Should Know

More Labor & Birth Terms Every Woman Should Know

We decided to expand your knowledge on labor and birth terms that we know we all hear, but never really take the time to find out their meanings (read here). The list is endless and goes on, with new words being made up everyday. Well, here are some more terms youĀ should get familiar with:

  • Abruptio Placenta (Placental Abruption): The placenta has started to separate from the uterine wall too early before the baby is born.
  • Contraction: The regular tightening of the uterus, working to dilate and efface the cervix and to push the baby down the birth canal.
  • Fontanelle: Soft spots between the unfused sections of the baby’s skull. These allow the baby’s head to compress slightly during passage through the birth canal.
  • Forceps: Tong like instruments which may be used to help guide the baby’s head out of the birth canal during delivery.
  • Incontinence: Inability to control excretions. Urinary incontinence can occur as the baby places heavy pressure on the bladder.
  • Induced Labor: Labor is started or accelerated through intervention, such as placing prostaglandin gel on the cervix, using an IV drip of the hormone oxytocin (Pitocin), or by rupturing the membranes.
  • Jaundice: Condition in newborn babies, reflected in yellowing of the skin, caused by the immature liver’s inability to process excess red blood cells.
  • NICU: Acronym standing for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
  • Phenergan: A sedative administered which also controls nausea and vomiting.
  • Placenta Previa: When the placenta partially covers the opening of the uterus.
  • Posterior:The baby is in a face-up position during delivery. Normal presentation is anterior which is face down
  • Post-Term: Pregnancy lasts beyond 42 weeks.
  • Preterm: Babies born earlier than 37 weeks.
  • Prostaglandin Cream: Medication used to ripen the cervix before induction.
  • Ruptured Membranes: Usually refers to the breaking of the fluid filled sac surrounding the baby. The fluid may come as a gush of water or as a slow leak. Slow leaks are sometimes mistaken as incontinence.
  • Speculum: An instrument used to open the vagina slightly wider so that the cervix can be seen more easily.
  • Timing Contractions: Contractions are measured from the beginning of one until the beginning of the next.
  • Transverse: Baby’s body length is horizontal in the uterus. If the baby cannot be moved, it will have to be delivered by cesarean.
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