HealthcareWomen's Health

Common Terms You Must Learn Before Going Into Labour


Placental Abruption

Before delivery, the placenta starts to separate from the wall of uterus. This happens naturally so as to deliver placenta in the third stage of labour.

Amniotic Fluid

This is the fluid which fills the sac in which the baby has been growing since implantation. It is a protective covering for the fetus which mainly consists of water of baby’s urine.

The baby also swallows the amniotic fluid to practice breathing in the later stages of pregnancy. This helps in the development of baby’s lungs.


The abbreviation is used for the baby’a response to life after birth. The factors taken into APGAR measurement are appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. The score is marked from 1 to 10 on the APGAR scale in the first minute and after 5 minutes from birth.

Breech Presentation

Breech is a position where the baby lies with his head up in the womb. This means the baby will be born with buttocks first or one or both legs if the position does not change until labour starts.

Cephalopelvic Disproportion

Some babies are large and cannot pass through the pelvis of the mother. This makes it difficult for safe vaginal delivery to occur.


This is a medication used before the induction process which helps to ripen the cervix.


More commonly known as a C-section or abdominal delivery, the process involves making an incision for delivering the baby. The incision can be vertical or horizontal depending on the baby’s position and other factors.


Colostrum is a nutritional white discharge from the breasts to feed the baby in the first few days after delivery. It is more likely to be noticeable when due date is near. The baby gets all vital nutrients from the mother through this fluid.

Complete Breech

This position does not allow for a vaginal delivery as the baby lies with buttocks down in the womb. The legs are folded up towards the head.


Contractions are referred to as when the uterus tightens and pushes the baby downwards into the birth canal. Each contraction pushes the baby down and naturally proceeds labour until it is time for delivery.


The stage when the baby’s head has passed through the vaginal opening and is visible. The baby’s head is referred to as the crown.


Dilation is the opening of cervix before delivery. The cervix prepares for childbirth and opens after ripening during the labour stage. It is measured in centimeters and the cervix is fully dilated when it opens 10 centimeters.


This is referred to as the preparation of cervix when it thins out to dilate and open up for the baby’s arrival. Effacement is measured in percentages with 100% during the pushing stage.


The presenting part should settle into the pelvis to move further downwards when pushed. The ideal part is the head which should be engaged anytime in the last month of pregnancy before labour starts.


Epidural is the pain relief method opted in cases of need and even by choice. It is an anesthesia given through a catheter into the spinal cord. Epidural is very common nowadays as women opt for it before they go for delivery.


Episiotomy is the incision made in the perineum. This is done in order to widen the vaginal cavity and make the delivery happen. This is not done by choice. It will only be decided by the doctor once the time of delivery comes.

Fetal Distress

This happens when there are complications occuring during the delivery or the baby is not getting enough oxygen.


The baby’s skull has soft spots which allow for compression when the baby’s head has to pass through the birth canal.


This is an instrument used during delivery to help the baby’s head come out.

Frank Breech

This is a position in which the baby has his buttocks near the cervix while the legs are facing upwards.


Incontinence can occur in the last month of pregnancy when the baby puts more pressure on the bladder. Excretions cannot be controlled during this period.

Induced Labour

Labour is induced in case it does not start on its own. Prostaglandin gel is placed on the cervix to help it ripen. Also, the membrane can be ruptured or hormone drip can be given depending on what will be suitable in the case.


The yellowness of baby’s skin indicates the liver’s inability to process blood cells. This results in jaundice.


Labour is the term used for the process when cervix dilates and effaces to deliver the baby. The cervix prepares when regular contractions occur to tighten the uterus and push the baby downwards.


Lightening is the term used when the baby drops in the pelvis in preparation of labour and birth.


The baby’s bowels are filled with a greenish substance called meconium which is excreted after birth.


A specialist for newborns is known as neonatologist.


Newborns are often kept in the neonatal intensive care unit for care after birth.


This is another pain reliever used for labour and delivery.


Oxytocin is what will make your contractions come. It is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that works for the onset of labour.


Perineum is the muscle between the vagina and rectum.


Phenergan is used to control nausea and vomiting as a sedative.


Placenta is the source of nutrition for the baby throughout the pregnancy. It is a connecting tissue organ with the mother to nourish the baby.

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is a condition when the cervix is covered by the placenta.


This is a face up position of the baby during delivery which is not ideal in contrast to anterior.


The period after delivery is known as the postpartum period.

Post – term

Post term is the period of pregnancy exceeding 42 weeks.


Preterm is the pregnancy lasting less than 37 weeks.

Prostaglandin Cream

This cream is used before induction for the ripening of cervix.

Ruptured Membranes

This refers to the breaking of water bag or amniotic fluid sac.


This is an instrument used to see the cervix by opening the vagina slightly wider.

Timing Contractions

The time in between contractions is noted when they start until the start of another contraction.


This is a horizontal position of the baby in the uterus which is not ideal for vaginal birth. Therefore, most cases end up with a C-section.

Umbilical Cord

This is a cord connected in between the placenta and baby for nourishment.

Vacuum Extractor

This is an instrument used when the baby’s head has to be pushed out during delivery.

Khadija Ahmad

An author at Ask Health News, Khadija has good experience in Health And Physical Education and delivers her research work to entertain readers. Her words reflect creativity and intellect as she succeeds in shaping them into interesting articles for readers. Email: khadija@askhealthnews.com

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