Pregnancy's Hard Words

Cynthia Dermody
woman two months pregnant

Photo by LelandsMommy

When you have baby, you'll say words like "poop," "breast," "diaper," "cry" and "sleep" about a million times a day. These words are short, easy to say, and self-explanatory for a reason: With a baby, you will no longer have the time or desire to consult a dictionary, or comb your hair.

During pregnancy, however, you're confronted with lots of long, medical-sounding words, most of which will leave you saying, "Huh?" (Except for the word episiotomy -- for some reason every pregnant woman knows what that means.)

So that you can prove to everyone how smart you are about this birthing thing, here's a list from Fit Pregnancy of some of the most common pregnancy terms that doctors and friends will bandy about in the coming months. These in particular definitely threw me ...

Alpha-fetoprotein test (AFP) -- Blood test given between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy to screen for abnormalities, including neural-tube defects and Down syndrome.

Colostrum -- Fluid produced by the breasts in the latter months of pregnancy (and soon after birth); transfers proteins and immunities to the baby.

Effacement -- Gradual thinning and shortening of the cervix during labor.

Fundus -- The top of the uterus; after 20 weeks, the height in centimeters is generally equal to the number of weeks a woman is pregnant.

Linea nigra -- A dark line that can appear from the navel to the pubic bone during pregnancy.

Mucus plug -- A jellylike plug that seals off the cervix and is expelled before delivery.

Placenta previa -- A condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus so that the opening of the uterus is partially or completely covered; may require a C-section.

Preeclampsia -- A complication involving high blood pressure, swelling and abnormal kidney function; occurs after the 20th week and, left untreated, can lead to seizures and even death.

Transition stage -- The period during labor when the cervix dilates from 8–10 centimeters.


Did you know the meaning to all these words before you got pregnant? Are you constantly asking your doctor to define terms for you?


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