“My OB said that I am full term and will be post-term in a week so she wants to induce me.”
“Ugh these Braxton Hicks are the worst… every time I bend overI feel them.”
“Did you hear about Carol? Her OB is going to strip her membranes at her next appointment!”
If you recently found out that you are pregnant (or even if this is your 9th baby) you may have heard the bolded terms above when speaking with your OB, when chatting with your friends, or when reading information about childbirth. Doctors and other trained clinical staff often forget to stop and explain these terms, leaving many women and partners confused. To help you get up to speed with what these terms mean, we’ve compiled a list of some common terms that we think will be useful for you to know. Scroll down to see how terms you already know!
The placenta is an organ inside of the uterus, which supplies nourishment (food) to the growing baby. The placenta and the baby are connected to each other by the umbilical cord. It is the only “temporary” organ in the human body.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
“False labor”. These occur when the uterus tightens briefly. As the body prepares for labor, it is believed that these contractions are a way for the uterus to practice for actual labor. Typically Braxton Hicks contractions occur late in pregnancy (in the third trimester). These are usually short, irregular, and positional.
This describes the path through which a baby must pass during vaginal birth: uterus/womb, cervix, vagina, and vulva.
Also known as preterm birth, this is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. If they can, doctors will try to prevent premature births, because premature babies (also known as “preemies”) are at high risk for a lot of medical problems since their organs and immune systems are not done developing.
Sweeping a gloved finger over the thin membranes that connect the amniotic sac to the wall of your uterus. This action may cause your body to release prostaglandins, which soften the cervix and may cause contractions.
A post-term pregnancy is when a baby has not yet been born after 42 weeks of pregnancy. This is often dangerous for mothers and babies, so doctors may recommend that a mother have her labor induced or that her baby be born via Cesarean section if her pregnancy is getting close to post-term.
This is when a doctor begins labor artificially, either by giving you drugs (for example Pitocin) or by breaking the amniotic sac (an amniotomy) to start the labor process. There are risks associated with labor induction, so it should only be done when necessary.
Rupture of Membranes
This term is what people mean when they talk about “water breaking.” The “membrane” is the amniotic sac and the “water” is the amniotic fluid. During pregnancy, the baby grows in amniotic fluid inside of the amniotic sac. This event occurs just before birth, when fluid rushes out of the vagina. After the amniotic sac breaks, the fluid rushes out and the baby can be born.
This relates to the top of your “womb” or uterus. Later in pregnancy, they will use this to assess how far along you are.
Preterm labor is defined as regular contractions of the uterus resulting in changes in the cervix that start before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Changes in the cervix include effacement (the cervix thins out) and dilation (the cervix opens so that the fetus can enter the birth canal). In some cases preterm labor can lead to a baby being born too soon.
Clear, pink, or slightly bloody mucus that accumulates in the cervix during pregnancy. When the cervix begins to dilate, the plug is pushed into the vagina.
– UTI –
Urinary Tract Infection. These are common among women and may have negative health impacts on you and your baby during pregnancy. Routine urinalysis are often performed by providers to diagnose and treat. Symptoms can range from minor pain during urination, cloudy urine, frequent urination, to more serious symptoms like back pain, chills, fever and vomiting.