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Pregnancy Terms Glossary

As a soon to be mama, the wave of unfamiliar pregnancy terms seems to be never ending. I know what it feels like to sit through a doctors appointment and to be tripping over every second word that flys your way. In my experience I find that doctors appointments for pregnant women can come with bouts of anxiety that may be difficult to calm. I have put together a glossary of terms that I found to be commonly heard through-out pregnancy.

Adrenaline: is a hormone that produces increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar. It also causes contraction of skin blood vessels and an increase in muscle blood flow. This is the fight-or-flight hormone that can help during child birth.

Cord Entanglement: is a condition when the cord is wrapped around the baby, often around their neck.

Diastasis Recti: is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdomens, or in other words, the line where your six pack muscles meet in the middle. The line between either side of your ab muscle spreads during pregnancy to allow space for baby to grow.

Doula: is an experienced woman who acts as a support system to other women around the time of child birth.

Endorphins: are neurohormones naturally produced by your body that numb pain and produce a sense of euphoria

Epidural: is a local anesthetic that is injected into the nerves coming out of the spinal column in the lower back area to numbs labor pain.

Episiotomy: is a surgical procedure during labor where the doctor cuts into the perineal muscles, measured in degrees, to enlarge the vaginal opening.

Fetal Bradycardia: refers to the slowing of the unborn baby's heart rate.

Forceps: are tools that look like large spoon-shaped metal tongs and are inserted into the vagina by the doctor during labor The forceps cup around the baby's head to help pull the baby out.

Oxytocin: is a hormone secreted during labor that causes uterine contractions. Sometimes synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) is given intravenously to help stimulate labor that take place in hospitals.

Perineum: is the band of muscles that are found between the vagina and the anus.

Pitocin: is synthetic oxytocin that is sometimes given to women intravenously at hospitals to help jumpstart labor.

Placental abruption: is the premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall.

Preeclampsia: is characterized by the sudden spike of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Pubic Bone: is the front part of the pelvis.

Relaxin: is a hormone produced during pregnancy that helps to relax/loosen the pelvic ligament to allow baby to grow and be born.

Stadol: is a narcotic-like analgesic used to dull labor pain.

Vacuum Extractor: is a device used in hospitals that is attached to the baby's head during labor and birth to help baby be born head first.


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