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L & D Terminology

Labor and Delivery Terminology, Medical Terminology

Bloody Show passage of blood or blood-tinged mucus. Usually indicates that labor is nearing because it indicates that the cervix is changing shape
Endorphins Hormones produced naturally by the body – producing sedation and euphoria effects and raising the pain threshold
Intrapartum Intra/partum During labor
Lightening Not to be confused with electrical energy that shoots from the sky – this is when the mother feels a physical relief from pressure under the diaphragm due to the fetal head descending into the pelvic brim
Lithotomy position Mother lies on back with thighs and legs flexed and open, held in place with lithotomy poles, feet in stirrups. May be used during assisted vaginal deliveries or perineal suturing. Personally, this position represents everything about the medical model!
Prodromal Preceding Usually accompanied by a following word – prodromal labor, prodromal symptoms, etc
Oxytocin Hormone secreted by posterior pituitary gland. In reproduction - causes stimulation of uterus, causing contracts, as well as expulsion of milk during breastfeeding. “Feel good” hormone, also aids in orgasm. Three cheers for oxytocin.
Compound presentation Malpresention during labor in which more then one part of the fetus presents – example, head and hand, or even head and cord
Median Middle Refers to middle or midline plane of the body or a structure
Medio-lateral Relating to or extending from side to side. The “left-right axis”
Position (fetal) Eight different position of the fetus in the mother's pelvis – most favorable for delivery is left occiput anterior (LOA)
Presentation How the fetus is occupying the uterus, and usually which part will show first during birth. There are six main presentations (vertex, brow, face, breech, shoulder anterior, shoulder posterior)
Station The location of the presenting fetal part in the birth canal. -5 to -1 is above the ischial spine, 0 is right at the ischial spine, +1 to +5 is below the ischial spine. (+5 is crowning)
Curve of Carus Arc of pelvis axis, route taken by fetus during their passage through birth canal
Ketones Normal metabolic product of liver – excess ketones in urine often indicate diabetes
Perineal Pertaining to the perineum
Perineum muscles, tissue, and skin between vagina and anus. Perineum stretches significantly during childbirth
Suprapubic Supra / pubic Above the pubic bones
Acromion point of the shoulder – tip of scapula
Asynclitism asymmetrical Type of fetal presentation – the head is presenting first but it is tipped at the shoulder. Not favorable and can increase both first stage and second stage labor.
Attitude The relationship of fetal parts to one another inside the uterus
Breech Considered a malpresentation – baby is presenting butt (or feet) first. Opposite of vertex
Bregma The anterior fontanelle – also known as the “soft spot”
Cardinal movements Seven specific movements the fetus makes during birth to fit through the pelvis as it moves through the birth canal. Engagement, descent, flexion, internal rotation, extension, external rotation, and expulsion
Cephalic Pertaining to the head
Caul “born in the caul” When the amniotic sac fails to rupture during labor - fully enveloping baby as it is born.
Lie (fetal) Relation of the long axis of fetus to long axis of mother's uterus – they are normally parallel.
Meconium Baby's first bowel movement after birth – greenish-black material that has been in the fetal intestinal tract. Can sometimes be passed during labor.
Mentum Another term for chin. Used as a point of reference in face presentation.
Nuchal Pertaining to the back of the neck. Size of nuchal fold of fetus can indicate congenital problems, such as Down Syndrome.
Oblique Slanting Usually refers to a type of abnormal lie of the fetus – slanted in the uterus, which can present problems in labor and difficult or impossible delivery
Occiput Ox-eye-putt Refers to the back part of the head or skull. Term is used when referring to vertex positions
Saggital suture where the fetal parietal bones meet – if a third fontanelle is noted, down syndrome may be present
Sinciput Sin-say-putt Another term for forehead. Point of reference in brow presentation, opposite of occiput
Synclitism Type of fetal lie – plans fetal head is parallel with maternal pelvis. Opposite of asynclitism
Counter pressure External pressure that is directed towards a point of pain or pressure. Example, pressure applied to small of back to help relieve pelvic pain in labor.
Hydrotherapy Therapeutic use of water to release discomfort. Laboring in birth pool or in shower considered hydrotherapy
Psychoprophylaxis Type of education method aimed at preventing pain in labor and changing the conceptions of pain in unmedicated childbirth. Also known as.. Lamaze!
Anaphylaxis Abnormal and acute allergic reaction effecting the lungs, airways, and ability to breathe
Anoxia An/ox/ia Oxygen deprivation
Bandl’s ring Extreme thickening of a muscle ring in the uterus during labor – both palpable and often visible. Usually sign of imminent uterine rupture and can trap the fetus inside.
Bradycardia Brady/cardia Abnormally slow heart beat – below 60 beats a minute for adults, below 100 beats a minute for fetus
Chorioamnionitis Chorio/amnion/itis Inflammation of the fetal membranes due to an infection – usually by way of bacteria infection introduced in the vagina.
Classical Incision Vertical uterine incision during a c-section – usually reserved for emergencies so the doctor may deliver the baby faster. Women with a classical incision are not advised a VBAC.
Cystocele Cysto/cele Herniation of bladder into the vagina – due to pelvic floor damage during childbirth
Deep transverse arrest When the fetal head fails to rotate in labor, despite steady descent. Essentially “skipping” cardinal movements. Cesarean or assisted vaginal deliver is usually required
Dehiscence Bursting open or rupturing Can be normal or abnormal – abdominal wound after surgery, or Graafian follicle at ovulation
Dystocia Diss-toe-she-ah Difficult, abnormal, or obstructed labor. Commonly used with the term shoulder dystocia
Hyperventilation Hyper/ventilation Rapid and deep breathing – usually hand in hand with physical stress or emotional stress, or both
Hypoxia Hyp/ox/ia Lack of oxygen reaching the bodily tissues
Inertia (uterine) Inability of uterine muscles to contract efficiently – usually the cause of prolonged labor and overexerted mother
Rectocele Wreck-da-seal Hernia of the rectum into the vagina - usually caused by overstretched vaginal walls during childbirth. Sometimes result of baby “stuck” in the birth canal – more common in developing countries.
Sepsis Infection of pathogenic bacteria – can be fatal if left untreated
Tachycardia Tachy/cardia Abnormally fast heart beat and pulse Over 100 in adults and over 180 in fetus
Turtle Sign In labor, involves the appearance and retraction of the fetal head. Often indicates shoulder dystocia, sometimes cord entanglement
Umbilical cord prolapse When the umbilical cord presents first or alongside a fetal part. Considered an emergency as the baby's oxygen and blood supply is cut off due to pressure in the vagina. Assisted delivery or c-section is usually required.
Amniotomy Amnio/tomy Another term for artificial rupture of membranes – outside rupture of membranes to induce or facilitate labor
Contraindications A symptom or condition that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable
Episiotomy Midline surgical incision in the stretched perineum during childbirth to enlarge vaginal opening and help with delivery.
Fern test In pregnancy or labor, it is a test used when there is a concern that amniotic fluid may be leaking. Cervical mucus from a pregnant woman is tested - “ferning” is present when amniotic fluid is present in the mucus
McRobert’s position Position in labor where mother is supine and brings knees to chest in order to release a shoulder dystocia
Nitrazine test Swab test to check for the presence of amniotic fluid. Can be used in conjunction with a fern test.
Pudendal block Local anesthetic administered to the pelvic floor area (into the pudendal nerve) during childbirth. Usually given during second stage to relieve pain while the fetus comes down the birth canal.
Tocolytic Toke-oh-lyt-ic Drugs that inhibiting uterine contractions. Often used to stop or slow preterm labor
Created by: elisaself
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