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Pregnancy Terms & Definitions

Amniocentesis: A form of prenatal testing. A long hollow needle takes fluid from the uterus and tests for abnormalities. It is combined with an ultrasound.

Amniotic Fluid: The liquid that surrounds the baby and protects it while he/she is in the uterus. The fluid is mostly comprised of fetal urine and fluid from the lungs. When you hear the term "water breaking", it is merely the release of this fluid in preparation for the birth.

Apgar Score: This is an assessment taken of your baby after it´s birth. The score is based on heartbeat, respiration, skin colour, irritability and muscle tone. The total score is added up with a number between 0 and 10 at one minute after birth and repeated 5 minutes after birth.

"Bloody Show": light brown or reddish colour mucus that is released from the cervical area. It is another sign of labour preparation. Braxton Hicks Contractions: Also known as false labour. They occur during the pregnancy but are considered safe because they do not dilate the cervix.

Breech: A position that the baby is in with its bottom facing down instead of the head. This position can often lead to a c-section birth plan.

Cesarean Birth: Also known as a "C-section". It is a surgical procedure that delivers your child. An incision is made in the lower part of the woman´s abdomen and the baby is removed from the uterus.

Conception: The point in a woman´s cycle when sperm penetrates the egg, thus causing conception.

Cramping: Pains similar to those during a menstrual cycle. This can happen more frequently during the 2nd trimester due to the stretching of the abdominal muscles.

Diaphragm: A muscle that is under the lungs and lies across the top of the stomach.

Ectopic Pregnancy: A pregnancy that develops somewhere other than the uterus. Most common is the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy must be terminated, as it is dangerous for the mother.

EDD: Expected date of Delivery

Endometrium: The place where the embryo gets all its nutrients. It is the lining of the uterus.

Episiotomy: Sometimes used in delivery to enable the baby to be born faster. It is a cut made in the skin between the vagina and anus, also known as the perineum.

Fetus: The medical term for a baby still in the uterus.

Gestation: How far along the fetus is. On average a gestation period is 40 weeks.

Hyper-Emesis: Also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is a severe form of morning sickness. It can lead to many problems in the pregnancy to both the mother and the fetus as it can lead to dehydrations and weight loss. It is a rare complication of pregnancy and estimates believe that only 2% of pregnant woman get it.

Hypertension: High Blood Pressure

Infertility: The biological inability of a person to contribute to conception.

IUI: Occurs at the time of ovulation when the sperm is placed within the uterine cavity. It is the short form of "Intrauterine insemination".

IVF: In-vitro fertilization. The process by which egg cells are fertilized by a sperm outside of the womb. It is a major assistance in the treatment of infertility.

Miscarriage: When the mother´s body reacts to a problem in the pregnancy. It ultimately causes the loss of a pregnancy.

Monozygotic: Identical twins occur when a single egg is fertilized to form one zygote (monozygotic) and then divides into 2 separate embryos.

Ovulation: The time frame in which a woman can get pregnant. Usually on average about 14 days after the beginning of a woman´s period.

Perineum: The area of skin between the vagina and anus. This is the area cut when a woman receives an episiotomy.

Placenta: The organ that connects the mother to the baby and allows for nutrients to transfer between the 2. Placenta Praevia: A complication of pregnancy when the placenta is at the lower area of the uterus and covers the cervix.

Presentation: The way in which the baby is positioned. It is important to note for the doctor to see which part is going to be born first i.e. head or bottom.

Quickening: A pregnancy term that means the first movements of the baby that you can feel.

Sonogram: Another word for an ultrasound. It is used to give answers to the gestation of the baby and see any complications that maybe have come about.

Term: It is 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.

Trimester: Broken down into 3 trimesters it literally means "three months". It is the amount of time that each pregnancy is divided into. 3 periods of 3 months each.