Medical terminology can be a hard language to understand. When it comes to pregnancy and birth, these are the words you should know!
A is for Antepartum
Another word interchangeable with prenatal. Sometimes if high risk you might be admitted for antepartum observation, or you could even hire a doula for antepartum support as well!
B is for Breast/Bottle Feeding
No matter how you feed your baby, what matters is that you are feeding them. So whip out the breast or bottle, sit back, and feed your sweet baby! There is no right or wrong answer in this!
C is for Cesarean Section
Elective or not, having a Cesarean is a major procedure. Make sure your spouse has a strong stomach if they’re in the OR with you. Don’t feel guilty about it. Put your feet up, recover, rest, and make others wait on you!
D is for Dilation
It’s a 10! It’s exactly how you want your cervix at go time – to be open, and you’ll often hear your provider discuss your dilation in terms of centimeters.
E is for Effacement
Not only does your cervix open, but it needs to thin out too during the process which makes it easier for your baby to descend! Effacement is measured in percentages!
F is for Forceps
Birth tongs! No really, and no need to worry, like the vacuum, they are used only when your baby gets stuck and when absolutely needed!
G is for Gender
Boy? Girl? Planning a reveal party? If you don’t want to know until birth make sure your provider knows ahead of time! Be sure to also let your provider know if you want someone special (dad, grandma, etc.) to announce!
H is for Hypertension
AKA High Blood Pressure. Sometimes pregnancy causes it, sometimes it can lead to preeclampsia or toxemia towards the end of pregnancy. Keep an eye on it with your provider.
I is for Induced
Ready for your baby? Overdue? Complications? Your provider may want to start labor for any number of reasons. Usually started with a membrane sweep, breaking water, or medication.
J is for Jaundice
Your baby looking a little yellow could be a sign of jaundice. It’s usually caused by the bilirubin being too high from a breakdown of red blood cells. Medication, or those glowing heat lamps usually help correct the issue.
K is for Vitamin K
Babies are usually born with low levels of Vitamin K which helps with clotting. It’s usually given to newborns in a shot to boost their Vitamin K levels to help should there be any medical complications.
L is for Labor
Congrats! You made it! Although there are stages of labor, being in labor means your baby is coming! Get ready!!!!!
M is for Meconium
Poop! Yup, sometimes your baby poops while in your uterus. It’s usually greenish.
N is for Newborn
Your sweet little baby is here! Cuddle, snuggle, feed, change the diapers and enjoy! Welcome to parenthood!
O is for Optimal Position
Often referred to your baby’s position. OA (occipital anterior) is usually the desired position where the baby’s back is forward, and head down.
P is for Placenta
It’s that important organ during pregnancy that is attached to the uterine wall to allow transfer of nutrients to the baby through the umbilical cord. Many have also seen positive effects from ingesting the placenta through placenta encapsulation.
Q is for Quiet Time
Sometimes labor is long and stressful. Sometimes you just need a little quiet time during it to relax and regroup!
R is for Round Ligament Pain
When you have that sharp pain near the groin area on one side or another under the belly, it’s usually round ligament pain. It happens when the ligament is stretched and thickens to accommodate your growing belly.
S is for Sex
We get it! Sex is fun and can sometimes be used as a natural induction method. No matter how your baby is born, you’ll have some healing time. Trust us, take the healing time. You will both be glad you waited those few extra weeks!
T is for TOLAC
Trial of Labor After Cesarean (TOLAC). If you are wanting a VBAC, your provider will usually allow you to have a TOLAC. In doing so, you should have discussed the possibility of a cesarean section should the need arise during the TOLAC.
U is for Ultrasound
Say Cheese! The ultrasound is usually the first opportunity to see a picture of your baby. Not only does it allow you to see your baby’s physical features, but it also allows your provider to see if there are any other medical conditions to be aware of.
V is for Vaginal Exam
During the course of your pregnancy, and during your labor you will experience vaginal exams. It’s usually to check effacement, dilation, and engagement during labor.
W is for Water Breaking
Time to get ready! When your water breaks spontaneously or through induction, it is a good sign that your baby is on the way!
X is for Xtream Pressure
You will feel lots of pressure during pregnancy and birth. Whether it’s your baby pushing down in your pelvis, or the pressure of of nurses to help push your baby out during a cesarean section, there will be pressure. If it’s ever very uncomfortable, let your provider know!
Y is for Yeast Infection
The change in your hormones from pregnancy can change the pH balance of your vagina which can lead to a yeast infection! No one likes itching, and you can easily treat and clear this common issue of pregnancy!
Z is for Zofran
Girl, there is no need for you to be Wonder Woman during the morning sickness. Sometimes it lasts longer then the 1st trimester too. A commonly prescribed drug to help with that vomit issue. Take some. Thank me later!
Written by: Megan Harless, Lead Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas of Hampton Roads