Pregnancy is the time in a woman’s life where you start to encounter so many new concepts, words and feelings. I think of this period as a new stage of our adult life and a new level of education. Think of it like a ‘diploma program’. 🙂 The whole thing is crazy. Everyday, you hear a new word from your doctor, family and friends and try to soak it all in. I personally felt like an alien to this pregnancy and baby world when the time came and still to this day (my due date is very soon) I keep learning.
Over the course of the last 8+ months, I’ve basically built a pregnancy vocabulary list for myself and although it keeps expanding, there were some terms that really helped me communicate better with my midwife and understand the pregancy related material I was reading. I’d love to share it for those who need a fast-track course and want to find it all in one place!
Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Pregnancy Vocabulary
The regular tightening and relaxing of your uterus when labor starts. It is the movement that pushes a baby down the birth canal. These are also referred as ‘surges’ or ‘waves’ in hypnobirthing method.
These are false contractions that often start happening during late pregnancy (3rd trimester). I think of them as a practice and preparation for the real thing. There is no pain, but your belly all of a sudden feels rock solid and it’s not comfortable to sit, bend or do anything basically.
Pelvic Floor muscles
This was one of the most interesting things I’ve personally learned during pregnancy and had not heard of before! Pelvic floor muscles is a layered muscle set we all have and that support and hold our pelvic organs and the bottom of our pelvis. Pelvic organs include our bladder, bowel and uterus for woman. It’s critical that our pelvic floor functions normally.
Wow, right!? It’s critical and I don’t know how many of us are aware of this one in our daily lives.
The lowest part of the uterus, which connects to the vagina. Babies must pass through the cervix in order to be born vaginally. *
A type of anesthesia that can relieve pain during childbirth. Epidural makes the mother lose senses below the waist, therefore releives labor pain.
When the baby’s head passes through the birth canal and the top or “crown” is visible at the vaginal opening. *
C-section (aka. Ceserean)
A surgery in which doctors make a cut into the mother’s abdomen and deliver the baby that way (Alternative is vaginal birth).
It is a philosophy and method of birthing that is based on the belief that when a woman is properly informed and prepared for birthing physically, mentally, and emotionally, she can experience the achievement of birthing her baby in a more positive and comfortable way. *
Another term for pregnancy.
Prenatal means ‘before birth’. You’ll notice terms such as prenatal yoga, prenatal tests, and so on. They refer to anything that happens during pregnancy.
Opposite of prenatal – means ‘after birth’. Again, you’ll hear terms such as postnatal health, postnatal recovery, etc. They all refer to the period after birth.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each one corresponding to approximately 3 month cycles during your 9 month pregnancy. Each trimester has its own symptoms and changes. The famous morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), exhaustion, and headaches, are common in the first trimester. The second trimester is much better in terms of health and energy. You can expect to start “showing” during this period and you begin to feel the baby move! The third trimester is the final term of pregnancy and you are much heavier, slower and feel really pregnant! Time to prepare for the baby and have more regular checkups with your health provider.
A thin, white fluid discharge from the breasts in the early stage of milk production. Apparently this starts to be noticeable during the last couple weeks of pregnancy. *
When the baby is expected to be born. Doctors/Midwives estimate a due date using the date of conception and/or the date of a your last period (if you know either one), or by doing an ultrasound.