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Pregnancy Related Terms

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  • Abruption

  • When the placenta prematurely breaks away from the uterine wall. Also called abruptio placentae.

  • ACOG

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a private, voluntary, nonprofit organization of women's healthcare professionals. The ACOG currently has over 37,000 physician members.

  • Active Labor

  • The period of time when your cervix dilates between four and eight centimeters. Contractions usually come between three and five minutes apart, dilating the cervix approximately one centimeter (one "finger") per hour.

  • Alpha-Fetoprotein

  • A test that assesses the risk (does not diagnose) of neural tube defects and Down Syndrome. Usually given between the 15-20 weeks; preferred at 16 weeks.

  • Amniocentesis

  • This procedure entails drawing a small quantity of amniotic fluid from the sac surrounding the fetus. The particles of the baby's sloughed-off skin cells floating in the water are then tested for fetal abnormalities.

  • Amniotic Fluid

  • This protective liquid, consisting mostly of water, fills in the sac surrounding the fetus.

  • Amniotic Sac

  • The sac that holds the protective liquid called amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus.

  • Anemia

  • An iron deficiency common in pregnancy.

  • Anesthesiologist

  • A doctor who administers drugs like an epidural.

  • Anterior

  • Baby faces the correct way (face down) when emerging from the uterus.

  • Apgar Score

  • This is a measurement of a newborn's response to birth and life outside the womb. Ratings are based on Appearance (color); Pulse (heartbeat); Grimace (reflex); Activity (muscle tone) and Respiration (breathing). The score is taken at 1 and 5 minutes (sometimes also at 10 minutes) after birth, the high score being 10 and the low score being 1. This scale was named for its creator, Virginia Apgar (1909-1974).

  • Areola

  • The dark area encircling the nipple. (When breastfeeding, you will need to make sure the baby latches onto the areola, not just the nipple.)

  • AROM

  • Acronym stands for artificial rupture of membranes. It means that a doctor or midwife breaks the woman's water to begin labor.

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Pregnancy Terms

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