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Understanding Maternal Fetal Terms

  • Abruptio Placenta

    When part or entire placenta separates from the site of implantation in the uterus before labor.
  • Amniocentesis (also known as Amnio)

    Before-birth diagnostic procedure during which a long needle is used to obtain amniotic fluid from within the uterus. This fluid can be used for genetic and other diagnostic tests.
  • Antenatal or Prenatal Care

    The care you receive during your pregnancy.
  • Betamethasone Steroid

    Given to help your baby’s lungs develop and to reduce the severity of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Cesarean Section (also known as a C-Section)

    Surgery where the doctor makes a cut in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to remove the baby.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife or CNM

    Registered nurse with extra training and education. A CNM has passed an exam to be licensed as a nurse practitioner and may deliver babies.
  • Cervical Insufficiency (also known as Incompetent Cervix)

    When the cervix is weakened which increases a woman’s risk to miscarry mid-term or go into early (premature) labor and delivery. The exact cause of an insufficient or weakened cervix is unknown.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (also known as CVS)

    Before birth diagnostic procedure in which a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta in the first trimester. This tissue is used for genetic tests.
  • Chronic Hypertension

    High blood pressure that is present before pregnancy.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy

    Implantation of the embryo in a site other than the uterus and is potentially life threatening. Seek medical attention immediately if suspected.
  • Gestational Hypertension

    Onset of hypertension (high blood pressure) after the 20th week of pregnancy and disappears after six weeks postpartum.
  • Late Preterm Birth

    Birth that occurs between 34 and 36 weeks gestation.
  • Level of Care/Obstetrical

    Refers to the kind of treatment for obstetric patients, or pregnant women. Hospitals have a kind of checklist or guide about how to identify women or developing babies who are at high risk. Some hospitals can take care of you if you are considered high risk. Others may want to refer you to a hospital that is more prepared to handle a higher level of care.

    • Birth Centers – Care for low-risk women with uncomplicated pregnancies who are expected to have uncomplicated labor. These are pregnancies with only one baby who is positioned with his/her head down.
    • Level I – Care for uncomplicated pregnancies, but have the ability to detect, stability and initate management of unanticipated maternal-fetal or neonatal problems that could occur before, during or after labor, until a patient could be transferred to a facility where speciality maternal care is available.
    • Level II – Provides all the care available at a Level I facility, plus can care for some high-risk pregnancies that are either directly admitted or transferred from another facility.
    • Level III – Provides all the care available at a Level II facility, plus can care for more complex maternal medical conditions, pregnancy complications and fetal conditions.
    • Level IV – Provides all the care available at a Level III facility, plus can provide on-site medical and surgical care of the most complex maternal conditions and critically ill women and fetuses.
  • Level of Care – Nursery or Newborn

    Describes how well prepared a hospital is to take care of obstetrical patients and newborns with special needs. There are five service levels.

    • Level I – A general level newborn service provides care to newborns of low risk. These babies weigh at least 5 pounds, and the pregnancy has passed 36 weeks before the baby is born.
    • Level II – An intermediate level newborn service is for smaller babies. These babies can be moderately ill, or they might have low birth weight but are growing. As soon as they gain enough weight, they can be discharged.
    • Level III – A specialty level newborn service provides intensive care to high-risk newborns. These babies have illnesses that need special equipment and the staff is trained to provide special care. Stormont Vail has a Level III Neonatal III Intensive Care.
    • Level IV – A sub-specialty level newborn service provides intensive care for high-risk, critically ill newborns. These babies have complex newborn illnesses. Pediatric (children’s) medical and surgical doctors are in the hospital to help take care of these babies.
  • LMP

    First day of your last period.
  • Miscarriage

    The spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths.) A miscarriage may also be called a “spontaneous abortion.” This refers to naturally occurring events, not to surgical abortions. Other terms for the early loss of pregnancy include:

    • Complete abortion: All of the products (tissue) of conception leave the body.
    • Incomplete abortion: Only some of the products of conception leave the body.
    • Inevitable abortion: Symptoms cannot be stopped and a miscarriage will happen.
    • Missed abortion: The pregnancy is lost and the products of conception do not leave the body.
  • Neonatologist

    Pediatrician, or specially trained children’s doctor, who has extra training and a license to treat at-risk newborns.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care (NIC)

    Sometimes called the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. The NIC is a unit for babies who are born premature with a birth defect or just need a little extra care after birth. Doctors and nurses who are trained in taking care of babies born prematurely – early – or with special needs work together as a team to provide the highest quality of care. The team includes neonatologists and specially trained nurses.
  • OB/GYN (Obstetrician/Gynecologist)

    A physician specialist who provides medical and surgical care to women and has particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth, and women’s health.
  • Pediatrician

    A physician specialist who provides medical care for infants, children, and adolescents usually from birth to 18 years of age.
  • Perinatologist

    An obstetrician who has extra training and a license to treat high risk pregnancies.
  • Postpartum

    The time after the baby is born.
  • Preterm Labor

    When a woman experiences labor – having contractions that change the cervix – occurring between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Preterm Birth

    Any birth that occurs before the 37th completed week of pregnancy.
  • Preterm Rupture of Membranes

    Spontaneous rupture of the amniotic sac and leakage of amniotic fluid before the 37 completed week.
  • Placenta Previa

    When the placenta covers the cervical opening to some degree. There may or may not be painless vaginal bleeding after 20 weeks gestation that is intermittent or in gushes.
  • Preeclampsia

    A pregnancy-specific condition in which hypertension (high blood pressure) develops after 20 weeks gestation.
  • Puerperium

    The first six weeks following childbirth.
  • Pregnancy

    Divided into three trimesters the first trimester is from 1-12 weeks, second is from 13-27 weeks and third is from 28-40 weeks.
  • Tubal Sterilization or Tubal Ligation

    Surgery to permanently stop a woman from having babies. In the surgery, the fallopian tubes (through which a woman’s eggs travel) are closed and cannot be reversed or undone.
  • Ultrasound or Sonogram

    A visual image produced by an ultrasound exam. It gives doctors a shadowy image of the baby as the baby develops.