Afterbirth Placenta
Amniotic fluid The “waters” around the baby in the womb (uterus)
Anterior A position of the foetus where the baby’s back is towards the mothers front
Apgar score A score out of 10 which babies are given at 1 minute and 5 minutes of age. It reflects their breathing effort, their colour, their tone, their reflex irritability and their heart rate
APH (Antepartum haemorrhage) Bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy
Areolar The darker skin around the nipple
ARM (artificial rupture of membranes) Where the membranes around the baby are purposefully pierced during a vaginal examination by the midwife or doctor in order to release the amniotic fluid
Augmentation Augmentation of labour involves the speeding up of the process by artificial means
Bilirubin A by-product of red-blood cell breakdown. A pigment which causes jaundice when it reaches high levels in the blood
BP (blood pressure) Pressure exerted on blood vessels during heart contraction and relaxation
Braxton Hicks Practice contractions, felt pre-labour and usually painless
Breech Where the unborn baby is bottom, knee, or feet down
Caesarean section A procedure by which the baby is surgically delivered via a incision in the mother’s abdomen
Cephalic Where the unborn baby is head down
Cervix The “neck” of the uterus (womb), through which the baby must pass to be born
Circumcision Surgical removal of the outer skin covering of the penis
Colostrum The milk produced in the mother’s breasts during pregnancy, first fed to the baby after birth and for about three days
Contractions The rhythmic contraction of the uterine muscle
Crowning During birth, where the baby’s head “sits” at the vaginal outlet
CTG Cardiotocograph, where uterine muscle tension and the unborn baby’s heart are measured and a graph of both is printed
Descent How far the baby’s head has descended into the pelvis
Dilation/Dilatation The opening of the cervix during labour
Doppler A handheld ultrasound device for listening to the baby’s heartbeat
Effacement The thinning of the cervix prior to and during labour
Engagement When the baby’s head has descended into the pelvis
Engorged Over-full, swollen
Epidural Anaesthesia applied to the epidural space around the spine
Episiotomy A cut made in the perineum, between the vagina and anus
First stage of labour From 4cm dilated to 10cm dilated
Foetus The baby before birth
Fontanelle Soft patches in the baby’s head where the skull bones meet
Forceps Metal instruments which can be applied to the baby’s head to speed birth once the mother is fully dilated
Fundus The top portion of the uterus
GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) Diabetes which begins in pregnancy
Gestation Number of weeks of pregnancy (a total of 40 on average)
Haemorrhoids Varicose veins which form around the anus
Induction of labour Where labour is artificially started (by medical or surgical means)
Jaundice The yellow discolouration of the skin, caused by increased bilirubin levels in the blood
Lanugo The soft downy hair which covers baby’s bodies while they are in the uterus
Let-down The reflex in which milk is released from the milk-ducts
Lithotomy “Stirrups”, where a woman’s legs are placed on poles whilst she is lying flat on a delivery bed, to keep them raised and apart, to facilitate birth of the baby or suturing of any tears following birth
LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) The person nominated by a woman to co-ordinate her care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postnatal period
LSCS (Lower segment caesarean section) See caesarean
Meconium The first bowel motion passed by babies after (hopefully) birth
Membranes The bag which contains the fluid (“waters”) around the baby
Moulding The movement of the baby’s skull bones to allow passage through the birth canal
NAD (no abnormality detected) Nothing unusual or abnormal noted in a physical examination
Neonatal Relating to the newborn
Oedema Swelling
Overdue See postmature
Oxytocin A hormone which plays a vital role in the initiation and continuation of labour, amongst other important functions (including breastfeeding)
Palpation To feel in order assess by touch
Pelvic Floor A hammock of muscles forming the bottom of the pelvic outlet
Perinatal The period of time around the time of birth
Perineum The area of skin and muscle between the vagina and the anus
Pethidine A morphine-like opiate sometimes used as pain relief in labour
Placenta praevia Where the placenta is close to, or covering the cervix and the baby cannot safely pass through without the mother haemorrhaging
Posterior A position in which the baby sits with his or her back towards the mothers spine
Postmature Overdue, past 40 weeks gestation
Postpartum The period following birth for 6 weeks
PPH (Postpartum haemorrhage) The loss of more than 500mls of blood following the birth of a baby
Pre-eclampsia A disease of pregnancy in which the mother’s blood pressure becomes elevated in combination with other symptoms
Premature Born prior to 37 weeks gestation
Presentation The part of the baby that is closest to the cervix
Preterm See premature
Prostaglandin A chemical mediator which acts on the cervix to soften and “ripen” it
Reflexes Automatic physical reactions to certain stimuli
Second stage of labour From 10cm dilated until the birth of the baby
Show The mucous plug from the cervix, once it has been released. Often slightly bloodstained
SRM (spontaneous rupture of membranes) Where the “waters” break by themselves
Sutures Stitches
Syntocinon Artificial oxytocin, used during labour to augment progress or following labour to facilitate the birth of the placenta and control bleeding
TENS Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Term 37 to 42 weeks gestation, the baby is fully grown and due to be born
Third stage of labour The period of time from the birth of the baby to birth of the placenta
Toxaemia See pre-eclampsia
Transition Part of the first stage of labour, from 7-8cm to 10cm
Umbilical Cord The cord which extends from the baby’s umbilicus to the smooth surface of the placenta. Provides passage for nutrients and waste products to and from the baby’s body
Umbilicus Tummy button
Uterus Womb
VBAC Vaginal birth after caesarean section
VE Internal examination which assesses the dilation of the cervix and position of the baby’s head
Ventouse Vacuum-extractor used to pull the baby from the birth canal
Vernix The cream cheese-like substance which coats the baby’s skin in the uterus, as a protectant