Mum To Be Jargon Buster

Almost as soon as she finds out that she’s pregnant your Mrs is going to start using all sorts of new words – and the more she goes to the midwife or spends time on FaceBook groups, the more words she’ll accumulate…  and you need to know them – all of them!

Remember she’s pregnant now, so there’s a good chance she’s going to be pissed off anyway (it’s a hormone thing), and if you don’t know what she’s talking about and have to interrupt her every other sentence to find out what she means…  It ‘aint going to go down that well.

So I’m here to help!  And just FYI, this page is going to be a work in progress and isn’t going to be image heavy…  much of this stuff doesn’t want to be accompanied by pictures!

Originally I called this the mummy jargon buster, but I’ve changed it to the mum to be jargon buster because once it gets close to the birth or the baby is born there yet another whole new vocabulary to learn so I’m going to work on a second jargon buster…  That way you can learn what swaddling and croup are!

4d Scan

Many private ultrasound clinics now offer a 4 dimensional scan.  The result is a 3 dimensional picture showing a much clearer image of the baby as well as the 4th dimension being the ability to produce a video.

Abruptio Placenta

A pregnancy complication where the placenta fully or partially detaches from the lining of the womb before the baby is born.

4d Baby Ultrasound Output

Afterbirth

After the baby is born, the placenta and some other waste products need to be expelled, with this being called the afterbirth.

Albumin

A protein which might be present in urine and is one of the ways in which the midwife will check for possible pre-eclampsia.

Amniocentesis

The removal of a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing.  This is not done often but can be useful diagnostic tool.

Amniotic Fluid

A clear or slightly yellow liquid which the baby lives in during pregnancy to protect it.  When they talk about the “waters” especially towards the end when they “break”, this is the liquid they mean.

Anemia

When the number of red blood cells decrease meaning less oxygen is carried around the body, causing someone to become “anemic”.  This is more common in early pregnancy and is the biggest contributor as to why women in their first trimester are always so tired.

Areola

The darker colored circle around the nipple, which often gets darker during pregnancy.

Bloody Show

When a small amount of blood is passed amongst some mucus, often referred to as the mucus plug.  This generally happens fairly soon (a few days) before the child is born.  The mucus and blood are released because the cervix starts to dilate and the mucus plug becomes dislodged.  The reason why it is bloody is nothing dangerous usually and is just because of the amount of movement and stretching which is happening.  Generally speaking it is not fresh blood and therefore a little darker.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

So these are basically practice contractions and whilst they usually start at the end of the pregnancy they can also start much earlier.  As the uterus prepares itself for the job ahead it will tighten which will cause some pain but not usually as much as full contractions.  You’re probably going to hear these words a lot!

Breech

When the baby is ready to come out, the optimal position for it to do so is head first.  This is the position your midwife will want the baby in and your Mrs wont get induced or have a sweep when the baby isn’t in that position.  Any position which isn’t head down is called being breech.

Cervix

The small canal between the uterus and vagina.

Cesarean Section

Often shortened to c-section.  A fairly common procedure where the baby is not born naturally but instead is removed by surgically making an incision in the abdomen of the mother.

Colostrum

The “first milk” is present in the first few days after birth and is an important aspect to breast feeding.  It is a way for the mother to pass on all sorts of antibodies and nutrients to the baby in the first few days.  It’s basically a belly kick-start.

Contractions

During labor, to enable the baby to come out the uterus will tighten.  These will start off fairly irregular and small, much like the Braxton Hicks contractions mentioned earlier and then increase in intensity and frequency until the baby is born.  Contractions will also start again when passing the placenta.

Cord Prolapse

When the umbilical cord is pushed out through the cervix before the baby is born.

C-Section

See cesarean section.

Dopler

A machine which allows the babies heartbeat to be detected.  These are used by midwives and doctors allowing an early assessment without the need for an ultrasound.  Some people also buy these at home to listen to the heartbeat however there is some controversy about untrained parents using these products.

Ectopic Pregnancy

A very painful condition where a fertilized egg does not settle in the womb but instead settles in the ovary or fallopian tube or cervix where it starts to form a fetus in an area which a fetus should fit in to.

Effacement

The shortening of the cervix before birth as it stretches to make it easier for the baby to pass.

Embryo

The earliest stage of development between conception and the fetal stage.  Lasts until the end of the 8th week after fertilization of the egg.

Endometrium

The lining of the womb.

Epidural

A strong anesthetic which is injected in to the lower spine as a nerve blocker for the lower half of the body.  it can be very effective for giving pain relief but can come with other complications as the woman is often not able to feel as well when she should be pushing.  Listening to the doctor delivering the baby at this point becomes very important.

Episiotomy

A cut made in the perineum to stop it tearing during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

There are many reasons why women should stay off the sauce when they are pregnant, and this is one of the worst.  It is characterized by birth defects such as facial abnormalities and lifelong physical and mental disabilities for affected children.  The worst thing about it is that it is caused solely by alcohol in the mothers system and is as such 100% avoidable.

Fetal Distress

Anything this causes stress for the fetus during pregnancy and labor.  This covers a wide range of things with fetal stress levels often signified by abnormal movements or increased heart rate.

Fetal Monitoring

A process by which the movement and heart rate of the fetus are monitored using external sensors placed on the abdomen of the mum, usually for a period of about 30 minutes.  It is a good first step to ensuring that the baby is moving as it should.

Fetus

The stage of development between embryo and birth.  The age this generally starts at is 9 weeks.

Full Term

The length of the pregnancy.  If a baby is carried to term it is born at around the expected time.

Fundal Height

A way of monitoring the growth of the fetus by getting a measurement of the uterus.  It is measured in cm from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus.  This is all done externally and is especially useful when the baby is too big to easily measure on an ultrasound.

Hemorrhoids

Also known as arse cherries, ass balls, butt nuts, arseteroids, stink balloons or speed bumps.  These are inflamed and enlarged veins around the anus causing them to protrude.  They can be very sore and be a cause of bleeding whilst being a very common side product of pregnancy.

Hyperemesis

Excessive morning sickness to a point where it prevents the adequate amount of food and drink being consumed.

Hypertension

High blood pressure (during pregnancy usually considered as anything above 140 / 90).

Induced Labor

Medical professionals using “other means” to start the labor if it needs to be started early or if the baby is overdue and needs to come out.  Usually the last resort before a c-section delivery.  Generally this is done chemically using medication.

Induction

See induced labor.

Labor

The final stretch (excuse the pun) of the pregnancy which includes the processes of contractions and the final movements of the baby inside the womb, concluding with the birth of the child / children.

Linea Nigra

A dark line extending from around the belly button to the pubic bone which appears at some point in about 66% of pregnant women.  It is caused by a hormone produced by the placenta (the same hormone which darkens the color of the areolas) and generally disappears a few months after birth.  It is normal and not a sign of any issues.

Lochia

A name given to the vaginal discharge which the mum will produce for up to about 6 weeks after birth which will contain excess blood, mucus and placental remnants.  Its just the womb cleaning itself out.

Meconium

Your babies first shit – it usually has a tar like appearance and consistency.

Menstruation

Also referred to as the period.  The monthly shedding of the lining of the womb, which generally ceases when pregnant and is often one of the first indicators of pregnancy.  However continuing to have periods (although often much lighter than usual) is sometimes reported during pregnancy.

Miscarriage

An unplanned (generally natural) early termination of the pregnancy.

Monitoring

See fetal monitoring.

Multigravida

A term referring to  woman who has had more than 1 pregnancy (not necessarily always to term).

Neonatal

A term given to the babies first 28 days after birth.

Perineum

The no-mans land between the the front bum and back bum.

Period

See Menstruation.

Piles

See hemorrhoids.

Placenta Previa

When the placenta is implanted in to the uterus wall very close to or over the cervix.

Pre-eclampsia

A condition which can generally start after about 20 weeks of pregnancy with symptoms being high blood pressure and protein in urine.  This is why the midwife will always check your blood pressure and ask you to bring some pee with you when you see them (in the UK at least).  It can be a dangerous condition for both mother and baby if not treated.  One of the signs, however not any more seen as quite as important as it can be a normal part of pregnancy is swelling, especially in hands, feet and the face.  Although if swelling is significant or you are worried, an expert opinion never hurts!

Pre-term Labor

A labor which starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Primigravida

A woman who is pregnant for the first time.

Quickening

The quickening sounds like the name of a horror movie…  It might well be one, but in fact its quite a nice phrase as it refers to the first time the mum feels the fetus move.  It is often said to be like butterflies, and lots of people, especially first time mums might think the quickening isn’t a baby at all, but just a fart brewing.

Reduced Movemement

No one will know the movements better than the mum, so reduced movements would include any drastic decrease in movement as felt by the mum for a prolonged period.  Most of the time the little one will just be resting but it can be an indicator of problems and will if uncharacteristically low or exhibiting a complete lack of movement result in fetal monitoring.

Show

See bloody show.

Spontaneous Abortion

See miscarriage.

Stretch Marks

These do not occur on all mums to be but are very common and are red, blue or purple lines on the skin in areas such as the thighs, breasts or stomach.  There is a lot happening in the woman’s body and as a result many of these areas increase in size rapidly, putting strain on the skin.

Term

See full term.

Toxemia

See pre-eclampsia.

Toxoplasmosis

Often also shortened just to Toxo.  This is an infection caused by a parasite which can damage tissue including the brain in an unborn baby.  It is contracted orally from infected food which hasn’t been cooked properly, from not washing hands properly after working outside and is the reason why pregnant women are allowed to use the excuse, “I can’t, I’m pregnant” when it comes to cleaning up cat shit!  It can be a nasty infection so good hygiene is so important for pregnant women.

Trimester

The term of the pregnancy is generally split in to 3 roughly equal sections of time, with each of these being a trimester.

Ultrasound

As previously mentioned in the 4d scan section, this is the basic version of that scan.  Using pulses of sound which are reflected back to the emitter and receiver a computer is able to map out various parts of the body.  In this way it is able to penetrate through the mother to give an up to date picture of the development of the child.  it is completely safe, non invasive and increasingly sophisticated process making up an important part of your fetal monitoring.  At the same time they are often also able to listen in on the fetal heartbeat.

Fetal Ultrasound Scan Output

Umbilical Cord

The tube which connects the fetus to the placenta, allowing blood and nutrients etc to move between the fetus and the mother.

Uterus

The area within a woman’s abdomen where the egg first should implant itself and allow the baby to grow inside.

Vagina

Right…  This is meant to be for the fellas to know what your Mrs is talking about, but I know that the majority of parenting blog readers are still women, even on blogs like mine.  Either way, if this term is unfamiliar to you, maybe you (in the case of lady readers) or your partner should go ahead and take another pregnancy test?  Of course the vagina is the muscly canal leading from the outside of the woman’s body to her cervix.  In effect it is the driveway to the baby factory with the vulva making up the entry gates.

VBAC

Abbreviation for Vaginal birth after previous cesarean.

Vernix

Also known as baby cheese…  Well that’s a lie, only I call it that, but it is the cheesy waxy stuff which new born babies are covered in.

Vulva

Once again this is something you should be intimately familiar with and it is just the collective term for all the bits and pieces which make up the external portion of the female genitalia…  Labia (inner and outer “lips”), pubis, clitoris (yes that is a real thing!), clitoral hood etc.

Womb

See uterus.

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