Pregnancy Timeline

preconception  |    1st trimester   |         2nd trimester       |   3rd trimester    |  post birth

week 0 week 1 - 4 week 5 - 8 week 9 - 12 week 13 - 16 week 17 - 20 week 21 - 24 week 25 - 28 week 29 - 32 week 33 - 36 week 37 - 40 birth

Pregnancy Glossary A - G

A

Active Birth
Moving around during labour as opposed to lying static in bed

Acupressure
Can be an extremely useful way of relieving some of the minor symptoms of pregnancy experienced by some women. For example, wearing acupressure wrist bands can help with the nausea and vomiting suffered by many women in the first three months of pregnancy.

Acupuncture
In pregnancy acupuncture has many applications and is particularly effective and safe for a number of troublesome complaints

AFP Test
Alpha Fetoprotein Test - blood test offered routinely to pregnant women to screen for high and low levels of AFP which can indicate chances of birth defects.

Afterbirth
Afterbirth (or placenta) which is delivered during the third stage of labour.

Amniocentesis
Test for genetic abnormalities which involves drawing amniotic fluid from the uterus

Amniotic Fluid
Also referred to as 'waters' . This is the liquid that surrounds the baby in the amniotic sac during pregnancy

Amniotic Sac
See fetal sac

Amniotomy
Surgically inducing labour (artificial rupture of the membranes)

Anaemia
Medical condition which can cause tiredness, breathlessness and paleness usually caused by a shortage of iron in the blood.

Anaesthetics
Drugs used to cause either local numbness or general unconsciousness

Analgesics
Pain-relieving drugs which do not cause unconsciousness

Antenatal Care


To ensure the delivery of a healthy baby by monitoring mother and baby's health during pregnancy.

Antenatal Class
Classes to help prepare you for labour, your baby's birth and early parenthood

Anterior Position
Description for the unborn baby when lying with the back of his head towards the front of the mother's pelvis at the end of pregnancy.

Antibody
Protective substance formed in the body against a specific infection.

Arnica
Homepathic treatment for reducing swelling, controlling bleeding and is appropriate when feeling sore and bruised.

Apgar Score
System used to assess the well-being of newborn babies

Aromatherapy
Complementary therapy where essential oils are used to promote relaxation and relieve tension

B

Baby Shower
Celebration held for the mum-to-be, where guests bring gifts for the unborn baby and mother and celebrate the forthcoming birth.

Barts Test
See Triple Test

Bearing Down
Pushing movement by mother during second stage of labour.

Birth Ball
A large ball designed to help a woman rock her pelvis and find comfortable supported positions. Can be used during labour for sitting upright and rocking on to help to move the baby into the best position for birth.

Birth Canal
Refers to a woman's open cervix and vagina, which the baby passes through during the second stage of labour.

Birth Plan
Mother to be's instructions and wishes for handling of the birth

Birthing Pool
Pool for water birth - to assist pain relief during labour

Blessingway Ceremony
Traditionally held during the 8th month, female members of your family and your female friends are invited to come and celebrate the journey you are soon to make in giving birth to your baby. This may be as formal or informal as you wish, some women incorporate some of the spiritual aspects of Blessingway such as singing/chanting, circle dancing, web-weaving and bead threading, others prefer to keep it simple by just lighting candles and pampering the mother-to-be followed by a feast (everyone brings a dish to share). It is a chance to gather all the positive thoughts and wishes of the women around you to take with you into labour. To find out more about this ceremony Mother Rising: Blessingway Journey into Motherhood by Y Cortlund, B Lucke & DM Watelet (2004).

Blood pressure (BP)
Tension of blood in arteries. ie. The force at which the heart is pumping blood around the body.

Braxton Hicks
Small contractions of the uterus which can be felt throughout pregnancy

Breech presentation
Instead of the head, the buttocks or feet are due to be delivered first.

Brow Presentation
Baby is head down but with neck extended and brow or face presents first

C

Caesarean Section
Baby is born through cut in abdomen under anaesthetic

Caput
Soft swelling on top of the baby's head produced by pressure on the head during birth which settles within a few days.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Complaint of the hands common during pregnancy. Compression of the median nerve as it passes from the forearm into the hand via the carpal tunnel at the wrist.

Cephalic Presentation
Position of a baby who is lying head down. This term is abbreviated on pregnancy notes to 'ceph'.

Cervix
The neck of the uterus where it opens into the vagina (birth canal).

Chloasma
Slight darkening of the skin during pregnancy due to the increase of melanin.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Antenatal diagnostic test for chromosomal and/or genetic disorders - usually carried out between 11 and 13 weeks

Cervix
Neck of womb which opens gradually during labour for delivery of baby

Cocoa Butter
Creams and lotions containing cocoa butter are popular in pregnancy for the prevention of stretch marks.

Contractions
Creams and lotions containing cocoa butter are popular in pregnancy for the prevention of stretch marks.

Co-operation Card
Medical notes shared between GP and midwife

Cord Blood Collection
Up to 50% of the newborn baby's blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. This blood - called cord blood - contains stems cells which can be used to treat some diseases.

Couvade
Term for 'sympathy' symptons experienced by men during their partners pregnancy usually abdominal paid, nausea and weight gain

Cramp
Painful involuntary muscle spasm of the legs, common in pregnancy.

Crowning
When baby's head can be seen at the vaginal opening.

Cystitis
Inflammation of bladder, usually due to infection

D

Diabetes (gestational)
Pregnancy condition in which there is a temporary increase in blood-sugar level.

Diamorphine
Drug used for pain relief during labour

Dilation
Gradual opening of cervix in response to womb contractions

Diurnal Rhythms
Natural hormonal changes which affect temperature and the rate at which your body breaks down food and transforms it into energy

Domino Scheme
Stands for 'Domiciliary in and out' Antenatal care is carried out by community midwife & GP and community midwife then delivers at maternity unit

Doppler
See' fetal monitor'

Doula
A female who provides nurturing, continuous support and reassurance before, during and after the birth to the expectant mother, father and baby , she does not offer any clinical care. The word doula is a Greek word meaning "woman servant or caregiver"

Drip (intravenous)
System for injecting fluids very slowly into a vein - can be used for medication.

E

EDD
Expected date of delivery (used on notes).

Embryo
Name for developing baby in first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Endometrium
Medical term for the innermost lining of the womb

Enema
Fluid inserted through back passage to flush out the contents of the bowel.

Engagement (Eng)
Baby's head settles in rim of mother's pelvis in preparation for birth.

Entonox
Entonox is also known as 'gas and air' and is a mixture of 50 per cent oxygen and 50 per cent nitrous oxide. Used for pain relief during labour.

Epidural
An anaesthetic injection into the spine which numbs the nerves supplying the uterus and cervix so that the mother can no longer feel contractions. Also removes sensation from the legs and feet. A Caesarean Section can be done with an epidural.

Episiotomy
A cut made through the tissue stretching between the back wall of the vagina and the back passage usually under local anaesthetic to enlarge the opening to assist the birth of the baby.

F

Fallopian tubes
Two tubes linking ovaries with womb, through which egg is released during ovulation.

Fetal Monitor
Also known as a Doppler. Diagnostic tool used for listening to the unborn baby's heartbeat, using ultrasound technology

Fetal Sac
The fetal sac or amniotic sac (also referred to as the membranes). Contains amniotic fluid to protect baby growth and development over the 40 weeks inside the womb.

Fibre
Adequate fibre is always important in a healthy diet, but particularly important when you are pregnant because the effect of the pregnancy hormone progesterone on the bowel makes it more sluggish and less efficient.

Fluid Retention
Fluid retention - which is also known as water retention or oedema - is quite common during pregnancy

Foetal Distress
Condition in which the baby's heart rate reduces (or increases) inside the womb. This signals that the baby should be delivered quickly.

Foetal Scalp Electrode
A tiny monitor that is clipped onto the baby's head during labour to check that he is not becoming distressed.

Foetus
Term used for developing baby (usually from about 11th week of pregnancy).

Folate
See 'Folic Acid'

Folic Acid
Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and is found mostly in leafy green vegetables and can help to prevent birth defects in the spine and brain

Fontanelles
Two 'soft spots' where skull bones have not yet fused on newborn baby's head

Forceps
Instrument used during childbirth to help the baby be born when he is lying in an awkward position and the mother cannot push him out.

Fundal height
Level in mother's abdomen reached by enlarging womb.

Fundus
The fundus is the top of the uterus, the part furthest away from the cervix.

G

Gas and Air
See ' Entonox'

Genetic
A feature or condition inherited from one or both parents.

Gestation period
Length of time between conception and birth.

Gingivitis
See 'Gums - Bleeding'

Glucose Tolerance Test
A blood test for diabetes taken after the mother has fasted for six hours

Gravida
Pregnant woman

Gums - Bleeding
The increase in oestrogen during pregnancy has an effect on the gums, making them softer and more likely to bleed. Dental care is particularly important therefore during pregnancy.

Gynaecologist
Doctor specialising in female reproductive system.


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