Glossary of Terms

It seems that pregnancy calls for a whole new language sometimes. We’ve taken some of the most commonly used terms and explained them for you here.

Analgesia
A substance that relieves pain.

Anesthesia
The loss of sensation/pain with or without the loss of consciousness.

Cesarean
When your baby is delivered through an incision in your lower abdomen and uterus.

Cervix
The opening of the uterus.

Contraction
The tightening and shortening of a muscle. In labor, alternating contraction and relaxation of the uterus. It brings about effacement, dilation of the cervix, and descent of the baby.

Dilate
To stretch and enlarge the cervical opening.

Episiotomy
A small incision made at the vaginal opening which may make it easier for your baby to come into this world.

Epidural
A type of regional anesthesia which blocks sensation from the navel down by injecting anesthetic in the lower back area. It may be one injection or may be given continuously through a catheter lightly taped to your back or shoulder.

Fetal Monitor
A machine which records your baby’s heart rate and alerts the medical and nursing staff when there is a change in uterine activity or if your baby begins to have stress during labor.

LDR
An abbreviation for labor, delivery and recovery. At Emory Crawford Long Hospital, we have all LDR rooms. Each suite is designed so moms can labor, deliver and recover in the same room. Each LDR room is equipped to handle routine deliveries as well as the most complicated ones.

Lactation Specialist
An advanced nurse whose focus is providing education and management to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems.

Midwife
A master'sdegree nurse whose scope includes the care of low-risk pregnant women.

Mother-Baby Unit
A special hospital room where mothers and babies stay together following routine delivery (dads, too, if desired) until discharge.

Neonatologist
A pediatrician who specializes in caring for babies immediately after they are born until they are discharged from the hospital.

Pediatrician
A doctor who specializes in caring for infants, children and adolescents.

PKU (phenylketonuria)
An inborn error in metabolism, when an infant cannot metabolize phenylalanine, an essential amino acid.

Perinatal
Before, during and after birth.

Perinatologist
An obstetrician who specializes in caring for mothers who may have a high risk pregnancy or delivery.

Perineum
The region between the thighs bounded in the female by the vulva (external vaginal region) and rectum.

Postpartum
Refers to the time after you have delivered your baby. For example, after your delivery, you may be taken to the postpartum floor which is just for moms who have delivered a baby.

Prenatal
Before birth.

Sitz Bath
A pan of warm water you may sit in to help relieve any discomfort and begin the healing process.

Tocotransducer
Pressure-sensitive gauge that measures the intensity and duration of uterine.