Pregnancy Glossary


Just in case you didn’t know…

Amniocentesis: Procedure to test for chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections where a sample of amniotic fluid is taken with a needle.

Breech Presentation: When a baby is positioned with its buttocks or feet closest to the birth canal opposed to the normal head first position.

Cephalic Presentation: The most common position to be born – head down.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): Prenatal test which takes a sample of the placental tissue (chorionic villus) to determine genetic disorders in the fetus.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The formation of a blood clot in a deep vein.

Ectopic Pregnancy: Complication in which the fertilized egg implants itself in any tissue other than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies most commonly occur in the fallopian tube but can occur in the cervix, ovaries and abdomen.

Edema: Swelling of tissue caused by the abnormal accumulation of fluid under the skin or in one or more cavities of the body.

Doppler Fetal Monitor: Instrument used to detect the heart beat of the fetus.

Epidural: Short for “epidural anesthesia” a form of local anesthesia wherein drugs are injected through a catheter placed in the epidural space (space inside the bony spinal canal) which may cause both loss of sensation and loss of pain.

Erythroblastosis Fetalis: A serious blood disease in fetuses and newborn babies in which an Rh negative mother’s antibodies destroy the red blood cells of an Rh positive fetus.

Footling Breech: One or both feet come first. This is rare at full term but more common with premature babies.

Frank Breech: Baby’s bottom comes first with the legs bent at the hip and stretched out at knees (with feet near the ears).

Fundal Pressure: Pushing on top of the mother’s abdomen during labour to help deliver the baby.

Gestational Diabetes: Condition in which woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes exhibits high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Group B Strep: A type of streptococcal bacteria that when present in the vagina can cause problems for the baby.

Hyperemesis Gravidarium: Severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy which may lead to weight loss.

Incompetent Cervix: When the cervix opens prematurely.

Molar Pregnancy: A growth which implants in the uterus which may develop into cancer.

Nuchal fold Scan: A test done in the first trimester to screen for Down syndrome and fetal congenital heart problems.

Placental Abruption: A complication wherein the placenta separates from the uterus of the mother before the baby is born.

Placenta Previa: A complication wherein the placenta has attached to the uterus close to or covering the cervix.

Pre-eclampsia: A condition during pregnancy in which there is high blood pressure, swelling of the ankles or feet and protein in the urine. Requires delivery of the baby to preserve the life of the mother and prevent grand mal seizures or stroke.

Vasa Previa: The presentation of the umbilical blood vessels in advance of the baby’s head during labour.

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