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afterbirth pains: Pain from the uterus contracting after birth that feels like “mini” labor pains.

acrocyanosis: A bluish appearance of the hands and feet seen in the newborn for the first few hours after birth.

amniotomy : The artificial rupturing of the amniotic sac surrounding the baby.

amniotic fluid : Water-like fluid that surrounds the baby in the mother’s uterus.

amniotic sac (bag of waters): Thin membrane that encloses the developing fetus and contains the amniotic fluid. It prevents bacteria from reaching the baby. The bag tears when the “water breaks” and releases the amniotic fluid to the outside of the mother’s body through the vagina.

analgesia: Pain relieving medications.

anesthesia: General or localized pain relief.

apgar score: A rating or score given to newborns at 1 and 5 minutes of age. The score is based on 5 categories; color, cry, muscle tone, respiration and reflexes. There is a possible 0 to 2 points for each or a maximum total score of 10.

areola: The dark area around the nipple.

back labor: A condition that normally occurs in approximately 25% of all labors. The position of the baby’s head is such that the back of the head is directed to the mother’s back or turned toward her sacrum. Extreme back discomfort can be felt by the laboring mother.

bearing down (pushing) : Reflex effort by the mother that helps the uterine contractions move the baby down the birth canal just prior to birth.

bilirubin : A yellowish substance formed during the normal breakdown of old red blood cells in the body.

Braxton-Hicks contractions: Intermittent uterine contractions with unpredictable frequency throughout pregnancy. These contractions are most often painless and occur more frequently as the pregnancy progresses.

breast engorgement: Filling of the breasts after giving birth with milk that causes both pain and swelling of the breasts.

cesarean birth : The method used to deliver a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.

cervix: The neck-like lower part of the uterus that dilates and thins during labor to allow passage of the fetus.

chloasma: The patchy, darkening of the skin or the face due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.

circumcision : The removal of the foreskin of the penis.

coagulation : Clotting of blood.

colostrum : It is the forerunner to breastmilk and may be yellow to almost colorless. It is present in the breasts during pregnancy and the initial fluid that baby will receive for approximately 3 days until breastmilk is established.

contractions : The rhythmical tightening and relaxation of the uterine muscles that cause changes to occur to cervix.

crowning : The appearance of the infant’s head at the vaginal opening.

diaphragm : The muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.

dilation : The gradual opening of the mouth of the womb (cervix) to permit passage of the baby into the vagina. It is measured in centimeters from 0 to 10 cms.

effacement: The gradual thinning, shortening and drawing up of the cervix. This is measured in percentages from 0 to 100%.

electronic fetal monitoring : A machine that records baby’s heartbeat and mother’s uterine contractions. It is placed on a woman’s abdomen externally by 2 belts - one applied on the fundus to track contractions and the other placed on the abdomen to pick up the heart rate. It can be applied through the vagina to achieve more accurate readings. An electrode is attached to the baby’s scalp to monitor baby’s heart rate and a pressure catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to measure strength of contractions.

enema: A tube is placed into the rectum and a fluid is inserted to promote a bowel movement.

engagement : The entrance of the baby’s presenting part into the upper opening of the mother’s pelvic bone.

episiotomy : A surgical incision of the perineum that enlarges the vaginal opening for birth of the baby.

epidural anesthesia : Regional anesthesia administered through the patient’s back by a thin flexible tube placed in the epidural space. It numbs the lower part of the body.

fallopian tubes : Tubes that extend from the uterus and open near the ovaries. They capture the eggs from the ovary.

fetus : The name given to the unborn baby as it is developing within the mother’s womb.

forceps : Instruments used while the mother is pushing to assist the baby under the pubic bone or through the lower part of the birth canal.

fundus : The upper, rounded portion of the uterus (womb).

gestation: The period of time a baby is carried in the uterus. It is usually described in weeks, and 40 weeks is full term.

gonorrhea : A sexually transmitted disease that affects the lining of the genital tract. The infection can infect the baby’s eyes at birth.

gravida: The total number of times a woman has been pregnant during her lifetime.

hemorrhoid : A dilated blood vessel inside the anus and beneath its thin lining (internal) or outside the anus and beneath the surface of the skin (external).

herpes : A virus that is characterized by small sores in clusters on the genitals. The infection is generally sexually transmitted and can affect the baby.

hormone : A chemical substance produced in the body that is carried through the blood stream and causes the function of another gland.

hyperventilation : The condition that results from rapid and deep breathing and is marked by dizziness, tingling and numbness of the lips and hands and muscular contractions of the hands.

induction : The use of medications or amniotomy (rupture of membranes) to stimulate labor contractions.

inertia: Sluggishness of uterine contractions during labor.

insomnia : The inability to sleep.

intrauterine : Inside the uterus.

involution: The process of the uterus returning to its normal size postpartum.

jaundice : A newborn condition caused by excess yellow bilirubin pigment. Treatment may be required but it is generally not necessary.

kegel exercises: An exercise contracting the pelvic floor muscles that improves pelvic floor muscle tone and helps prevent urinary incontinence.

lanugo : Fine hair that covers the baby’s body and is evident at birth.

Glossary

The Gift of Motherhood – your personal journey through prepared childbirth 124

Page 126 - Stormont-Vail GOM baby friendly ebook

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