15 Labor and Delivery Terms every expectant mom needs to know
Learning about conception, pregnancy, labor, and delivery is important for all women. When you have enough knowledge, you will better prepare yourself for labor and delivery. There are various scientific terms that every expectant mother needs to know about, and in today’s article, we will talk about 15 such technical terms. That way, you can improve your knowledge, make preparations, and reduce labor complications. Read on!
The placenta is an important organ that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy. The placenta’s primary function is to provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus and remove toxins from the baby’s blood. The baby’s umbilical cord develops when the placenta attaches itself to the uterus wall. The placenta is expelled from the body after the baby is born.
Dilation is an important phenomenon that refers to the opening of the cervix. As labor approaches, the cervix thins and opens, preparing the area for the baby to go through the vagina or birth canal easily. Health professionals recommend women to move around or walk to increase blood flow and speed up the dilation.
Effacement means your cervix stretches and thins. As the labor approaches, your cervix will efface and dilate, allowing the baby to position itself for birth through the vagina. Effacement is an important process of labor.
Meconium refers to the infant’s first poop. It is made up of fats, bile, intestinal secretions, proteins, and cells. The meconium is a thick poop with a dark green appearance. Remember, your baby will pass meconium in the first few hours or days after delivery. Studies show that some babies pass this sticky, thick poop in the mother’s womb during the final days of pregnancy.
A breech pregnancy means the baby has a head-up position in the mother’s uterus. In simple words, the baby’s feet point toward the vagina or birth canal. Although many babies in breech position are delivered through the vagina, it increases the risk of complications.
An episiotomy is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision or cut between the vagina and anus. The area between the vaginal opening and anus is called the perineum. An episiotomy is performed to create space or enlarge the vaginal opening for proper delivery.
Afterbirth is a common term used to describe the process of expelling of fetal membranes and placenta. As the name indicates, the process occurs after the baby is delivered. Keep in mind that the placenta and membranes leave the uterus and come out of the vagina. Afterbirth or placenta plays a key role in pregnancy, as it supplies blood and essential nutrients to the baby.
- Apgar score
Apgar test is performed by a doctor, nurse, or midwife immediately after delivery. It involves examining the baby’s body and mechanisms to determine his or her health, medical issues, and treatment options. A baby who scores 7 or above is considered healthy. Babies scoring lower than 7 would need immediate medical attention.
- Artificial rupture of the membranes
Artificial rupture of the membranes, also known as Amniotomy, is a procedure that involves rupturing of the amniotic sac. The procedure is performed by an obstetrical provider. The main purpose of Amniotomy is to induce or expedite labor in a woman with complications.
- Group B Strep
Although Group B Step are harmless bacteria, studies show that it can cause serious complications in newborns. It can lead to infections like sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Group B Strep bacteria’s presence can cause womb infections, bladder complications, and stillbirth in women.
- Braxton Hicks
Braxton hicks are associated with the uterine muscle. These are characterized by irregular contractions and relaxation of the muscle. Many women consider Braxton hicks as labor pain. The common signs of Braxton hicks are abdominal cramps and tightening of the cervix.
Crowning is an exciting yet dreadful time for women. It is when the mother sees her baby’s head through the vaginal opening. Crowning usually occurs in the labor’s second stage, when the mother pushes and delivers her newborn. Signs of crowning are the sensation of burning and stretching, a phenomenon known as the ring of fire.
Induction means inducing labor. The process involves uterine stimulation to promote contractions during pregnancy. The main purpose is to stimulate labor and achieve a natural vaginal birth. It usually takes a few hours to induce labor, but it can take 2-3 days in some cases.
- Mucus Plug
The mucus plug is the accumulation of mucus in the cervical canal. It is released or formed during pregnancy and has a thick, jelly-like appearance. The primary function of the mucus plug is to keep the cervical canal moist and protected.
- Posterior Presentation
Although the baby is in a head-down position, if he faces the mother’s abdomen, the position is known as posterior presentation. Research shows that babies ending up in this position during birth rarely occurs, but if it happens, a woman may face some delivery complications. Keep in mind that posterior presentation leads to severe birth pain.
All pregnant women and expectant mothers need to know technical labor and delivery terms. We recommend doing your research and getting more information on these terms. That way, you can prepare yourself for labor and delivery in a better way.