Janine Smith, Useful Information

Pregnancy & Birth Words

pregnancy and birth words
Afterpains Cramping with discomfort or pain as the uterus contracts and shrinks
Anaesthetist The doctor who administers epidural, spinals and a general anaesthetic
Antenatal The period during pregnancy
Assisted Delivery Birth using ventouse or forceps
Augmentation of labour To increase and strengthen contractions after labour has started
Bear Down Pushing during the birth of your baby
BMI Body Mass Index – measuring your height and your weight to calculate your healthy weight
Birth Canal The vagina
Birth Centre A midwifery-led maternity unit
Birth Pool A large pool of water used for pain relief so a labouring woman’s boobs, bump and back are submerged in the water.
Breech When a baby’s position in pregnancy is bum first
Caesarean When your baby is born through an incision in the abdomen
Catheter A thin tube which is usually used to empty the bladder
Cervix The neck of the uterus
Delivery Suite The room to labour and birth in at hospital
Diamorphine An opiate drug offered in labour
Dilation The opening of the cervix needs to dilate/open to about 10cm
Doula A professional birth partner
Emergency Caesarean A caesarean that takes place after labour has started
Entonox Also known as gas & air. It is 50/50 oxygen and nitrous oxide which can be used in labour as pain relief for contractions
Episiotomy When a cut is made in the perineum to aid the birth of a baby
Epidural Local anaesthetic in the spine to block the pain of the contractions
ECV External Cephalic Version – attempting to turn a breech baby
Engaged When a baby’s head moves into the pelvis during pregnancy & birth
Fetal Growth How much a baby is growing during pregnancy
Forceps A medical instrument that is used to aid the birth of the baby
Gas & Air This is entonox: 50/50 oxygen and nitrous oxide which can be used in labour as pain relief
Gestation Pregnancy
Gestational Diabetes Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy
Health Visitor A health professional who works with families with babies and
pre-school children
Homebirth When you labour and birth at home
Hypnobirthing A form of pain management for labour and birth
Induction When labour is started artificially
Instrumental Delivery A birth using forceps or ventouse
Latching How a baby attaches to the breast to feed
Let-down Reflex The Milk Ejection Reflex – when a baby starts to feed at the breast, hormones are released to enable the milk to flow
Lochia Discharge from the uterus after birth. It is made up of blood, mucus and uterine tissue
Maternity Notes This is the medical record of pregnancy
Maternity Unit The hospital ward for labour and birth
Meconium A baby’s first poo, which is dark and tar-like
Midwife The health professional who provides care during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period
Midwife-led Unit A maternity unit for low-risk women – it is only staffed by midwives
NICU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – for babies who need intensive medical treatment
Normal Birth This is a birth that doesn’t involve any medical interventions
Obstetrician A doctor who specialises in childbirth
Obstetric Unit This is a maternity unit which is staffed by doctors and midwives
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) A term to describe all pelvic and pubic pain
Perineum The tissue between the anus and the vulva which needs to stretch when a baby is being born
Pethidine An opiate drug which is used as pain relief and can be administered by injection
Placenta Babies are attached to this organ in pregnancy by the umbilical cord – it provides babies with oxygen and nutrients to grow and develop
Planned Caesarean This is a caesarean which takes place before labour as started
Postnatal The period after pregnancy and birth
PPH A Post-Partum Haemorrhage is a large bleed within the first 24 hours after giving birth
Pre-Eclampsia This is a condition which midwives check for during pregnancy. Symptoms include protein in urine, high blood pressure and swelling.
PROM Premature Rupture of Membranes – when amniotic fluid leaks before 37 weeks pregnant
Position of baby
OA: occiput anterior
LOA: left occiput anterior
ROA: right occiput anterior
OP: occiput posterior

Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH) This is high blood pressure during pregnancy
Retained Placenta When all or part of the placenta stays in the womb – drugs can be used to create contractions and deliver the placenta or it may need to be manually removed by an obstetrician
Scan Ultrasound scans are used to check the health and position of a baby
Skin-to-Skin Cuddles with a new baby when you and your baby are undressed
Sonographer This is a health professional who performs the ultrasound scans during pregnancy
SROM Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes – when the amniotic fluid/waters break at full term
TENS Machine A form of pain relief for labour using electric pulses which are administered by 4 pads placed on the back
Tear – 1st degree A small tear in the skin of the perineum which often doesn’t need stitches
Tear – 2nd degree A deeper tear which has gone into the muscle – this will probably need stitching
Tear – 3rd degree A more severe tear which goes into the muscles that surround the anal sphincter
Tear – 4th degree This is a rare type of tear that goes through the anal sphincter
Umbilical Cord This connects your baby to the placenta during pregnancy
Unplanned Caesarean This is a caesarean which takes place after labour has started, so it was not planned in advance
Uterus The womb
VBAC Vaginal Birth After Caesarean – giving birth vaginally after a previous caesarean
Ventouse A medical instrument used to aid the birth a baby
Waterbirth Birth in a birthing pool
Womb The uterus

This entry was posted in: Janine Smith, Useful Information


An experienced specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting, I have worked with parents since 2002. I am based in the North East so I regularly work with parents from Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and across North Tyneside. Face-to-face sessions will continue with North East parents but digital courses and online sessions means I can work with parents everywhere.