Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Most groups of people have their jargon and health professionals are no exception. Here's a list of some common words or acronyms (initials) or abbreviations you may come across when you read your notes or hear people talking. If in doubt, ask your midwife or doctor what they mean.


Alphafetoprotein (AFP):
(al-fuh-fee-toh-proh-teen)
A substance present in the blood of pregnant women, You may need further tests if you levels appear higher or lower than normal.

Albumin (ALB):
(al-boo-min)
This is a protein. If it's present in your urine, it may be a sign of pre-eclampsia or of an infection such as cystitis.

Amniotic Fluid:
(am-nee-ot-ik floo-id)
Sometimes called liquor (li-kor), this is the fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus.

Antenatal:
(an-tee-nay-tul)
Before the birth.

APH:
(ay-pee-haytch)
Stands for antepartum hemorrhage and means bleeding before the birth.

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BR:
(bee-ar)
Breech presentation. A baby who is lying bottom or feet down in the uterus.

Blood pressure (BP):
(blud pre-sher)
It's important to have your blood pressure measured as a rise could mean a problem.

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Ceph:
(sef)
Cephalic. Presentation of the baby with her head in the lower part of the uterus.

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Ectopic Pregnancy:
(ek-top-ik preg-nuhn-see)
A pregnancy that develops somewhere other than the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, This pregnancy cannot be allowed to continue as it is dangerous.

EDD:
(ee-dee-dee)
Expected date of delivery - when your baby is due. Sometimes called EDC (expected date of confinement).

ENG:
(ee-en-jee)
Engaged. Means that the widest diameter of the baby's head has passed into the pelvis in preparation for giving birth.

Episiotomy:
(ep-iss-ee-ot-om-ee)
A cut made in the mother's perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) to allow the baby to be born more quickly and prevent tearing.

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Fetus:
(fee-tuss)
Medical name for the baby before it's born.

Fetal heart (FH):
(fee-tul hart)
You may see 'FH heard' or 'FHH' on your notes - that means your baby's heartbeat has been heard.

FM:
(eff-emm)
Fetal movement. It may say 'FM felt' or 'FMF' on your notes. That means your baby had been felt to move.

Fundus:
(fun-duhs)
This is the top of the uterus. The 'fundal' height helps assess the growth of the baby and how many weeks pregnant you are. It's the length in centimetres between the top of the uterus and the pubic bone.

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Haemoglobin (Hb):
(he-mo-gloh-bin)
This gives an indication of iron levels in your blood. If it's too low it could mean you have anaemia and need more iron.

Hypertention:
(hi-puh-ten-shun)
High blood pressure.

Hypotension:
(hi-poh-ten-shun)
Low blood pressure.

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LMP:
(ell-emm-pee)
Last menstrual period. This date is used to work our how many weeks pregnant you are.

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Multigravida:
(mul-tee-grav-i-duh)
A woman who has been pregnant before.

Multipara:
(mul-tee-pa-ra)
Also called a multip - a woman who has given birth at least once before.

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NAD:
(en-ay-dee)
Nothing abnormal detected. The doctor or midwife may write this on your notes when they find no problems.

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Occipito Anterior:
(ok-sip-i-toh an-tee-re-or)
When the back of your baby's head is toward your front. You may see LOA or ROA on your notes which means left (or right) occipito anterior and described whether the baby's head is toward the left of the right. LOA is usually the best position for a shorter labour and an easier birth.

Occipito Posterior:
(ok-sip-i-toh poss-tee-re-or)
As above but the baby's head is toward your back.

Oedema:
(ee-de-ma)
Means swelling. Fluid retention can cause swelling in your ankles fingers and elsewhere. You may see it measured in your notes as + or ++.

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Palpation:
(pal-pay-shun)
When the midwife of doctor feels the baby by moving their hands across your abdomen.

Perineum:
(pe-rin-ee-um)
The area of skin between your vagina and anus.

PIH:
(pee-aye-haytch)
This is pregnancy-induced hypertension, which means that your blood pressure is high.

Placenta Praevia:
(pla-sen-tuh pray-vee-a)
When the placenta is low down. Sometimes it covers the cervix and blocks the baby's exit, which would mean you need a caesarean section.

Position:
(puh-zish-un)
How the baby is lying, for example to the right or left of the pelvis.

Postnatal:
(pohst-nay-tul)
After the birth.

Presentation:
(prez-en-tay-shun)
The part of the baby which is coming first (usually the crown or back of the baby's head).

Preterm:
(pree-term)
Born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Primigravida:
(pree-mi-grav-i-duh)
A woman pregnant for the first time.

Primipara:
(pree-mi-pa-ra)
Sometimes called the prim or primip - a woman giving birth for the first time.

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Quickening:
(kwik-en-ing)
The first movements of the baby that you can feel.

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Rhesus (Rh):
(ree-sus)
The rhesus blood group system is a way of categorising your blood type.

Rooming in:
(roo-ming-in)
Most maternity units now recommend that babies stay with their mums 24 hours a day. This helps with feeding and bonding. It also reduces the risk of infection.

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Skin-to-skin:
(skin too skin)
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby after birth (your baby is dried and put straight onto your chest).

Syntocinon:
(sin-toh-si-non)
Drug given during the third stage of labour to assist with delivery of placenta.

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Term:
(term)
40 Weeks or thereabouts from the first day of the last menstrual period.

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VE:
(vee-ee)
Vaginal examination.

Ventouse:
(ven-tooss)
Vacuum extractions. Sometimes used to help the baby out.

VX:
(vee-eks)
Stands for vertex. which means the crown or top of the baby's head.

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Last Updated: 15 February 2012
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