UNDERSTANDING MEDICAL TERMS OF PREGNANCY USED BY YOUR DOCTOR

Confusion and apprehension in understanding medical terms of pregnancy used by your doctor, in test reports, scan reports are often seen in most of the pregnant women.

Here are a few terms often used in pregnancy which may help you in having a clear idea on what the test, scan reports mean and your doctor says.

  • Conception – A woman is to be conceived when the fertilization of egg and a sperm occurs.
  • Fetus – baby in the womb from 9th week of pregnancy till delivery.
  • Embryo – baby in the womb from 2nd-8th week of pregnancy.
  • LMP – Last Menstrual Period is the first day of bleeding in last period.
  • Amenorrhea – absent or missed period in a woman with an otherwise regular menstrual cycles.
  • Gestational age – duration of pregnancy that is calculated from LMP.
  • 1st trimester – pregnancy from conception to the end of 3rd month (0 – 12 weeks).
  • 2nd trimester – pregnancy from 13 – 26 weeks (4th, 5th, 6th, first 2 weeks of 7th month).
  • 3rd trimester – pregnancy from 27 – 38 or 42 weeks, that is till delivery of the baby (last 2 weeks of 7th, 8th, 9th month).
  • Term – a pregnant woman is said to be “at term” when she is anywhere between 38th and 42nd week of pregnancy which means she may get into labor anytime in that period in a healthy pregnancy.
  • Quickening – when the mother feels the baby movements for the first time in pregnancy.
  • Pedal oedema – swelling due to collection of fluid in feet.
  • Cephalic presentation – Head of the baby occupies the lower pole of the uterus, that is in the direction of legs of the mother.
  • Breech presentation – Limbs/ buttocks of the baby occupies the lower pole of the uterus, that is in the direction of legs of the mother.
  • Engagement – The baby is said to be engaged when the head of the baby moves down into mother’s pelvis decreasing the size of abdomen a little in last weeks of pregnancy after 36 weeks, sometime before birth of the baby.
  • Ectopic pregnancy – Pregnancy in which the fertilized egg attaches itself in places other than uterus. Fallopian tube is the most common location of implantation other than uterus. Such pregnancy is called tubal pregnancy.
  • Low lying placenta – placenta that is situated in the lower half of uterus (normally situated in upper half of uterus).
  • Placenta previa – Low lying placenta that partially or completely covers the opening of cervix or womb at the end of pregnancy. This increases the risk of bleeding during pregnancy, miscarriage and the baby is delivered usually by cesarean section
  • Amniotic fluid – A protective fluid that surrounds the fetus in a sac in the womb. It provides cushion and also facilitates exchange of nutrients between baby and mother.
  • Oligohydramnios – Low levels of amniotic fluid is less than normal.
  • Polyhydramnios – High levels of amniotic fluid, more than normal.
  • IUGR – Intra Uterine Growth Restriction indicates the baby is small for gestational age.
  • PROM – Premature Rupture of Membranes indicates rupture of membranes holding amniotic fluid before the onset of labor irrespective of gestational age. This leads to water break, leakage per vagina and increased the risk of premature labor.
  • Mucus plug – Bloody show is a discharge with some blood from vagina expelled at the end of pregnancy indicating that the cervix is widening and labor is nearing soon. Mucus plug blocks the cervix protecting the baby from bacteria entering uterus during pregnancy.
  • Umbilical cord – a tube like structure that connects the baby to the mother’s placenta in the womb. It carries the nutrients and oxygen needed for the baby’s growth from the mother.

 

References:

http://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/fetal-development/

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/early-fetal-development/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-4-5-6-7-8.aspx?tabname=pregnancy

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-weeks-37-38-39-40.aspx

https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/low-lying-placenta

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/oligohydramnios/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492588/

http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/mucus-plug/

Textbook of Obstetrics by D.C. Dutta.

 

     –   Dr. Divya Teja Pasupuleti

 

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