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Postpartum Terms

Postpartum Terminology, Medical Terminology

Baby blues Mild for of postpartum depression – it is felt by the majority of women 3 days to a week after birth. It's not just brought on by the changes a new baby brings – but often by the significant changes in hormones after birth.
Diaphoresis Dia-for-esis Profuse perspiration that is artificially induced.
Diastasis “Separation” Separation of muscle, usually refers to the separation of abdominal muscles or pubic symphysis after pregnancy.
Diuresis Increased urinary secretion
Hemostasis Process of causing bleeding to stop – opposite of hemorrhage
Involution Returning to normal size after enlargement – in pregnancy, refers to uterus. Goes from 900g (~2lbs) right after delivery to 60g (~2oz) at about 6 weeks. Contracts and shrinks the muscle, absorb blood vessels, and removed excess via the lymphatic system.
Lochia Uterine discharge occurring anywhere from 2-6 weeks after delivery. Consists of placental blood, vaginal epitherlial cells, amniotic fluid, vernix, meconium, etc.
Lochia alba Whitish lochia discharge that contains blood cells and mucus
Lochia rubra Reddish lochia discharge that is mostly blood. Profuse lochia rubra can indicate infection, retained placenta or hemorrhage.
Lochia serosa Pinkish lochia discharge that contains less red cells and more white cells.
Multiform caruncles Ka-run-kles Also known as hymenal caruncles – small elevations of the mucous membrane around the vaginal opening.
Puerperium The 6 to 8 weeks following childbirth where the body works to return the uterus and other organs to their non-pregnant state. Much involution occurs.
Sitz bath Type of hydrotherapy that involves submerging the back end of the body into warm or cool water. Helps increase circulation, decrease swelling, and can bring comfort to the pelvic region. Often suggested to relieve discomfort after childbirth.
Battledore placenta Placenta with the umbilical cord attached to the margin, or border, instead of the middle. It's relatively rare and does not usually effect function.
Brandt-Andrews maneuver Method for delivering the placenta with one hand on the umbilical cord while applying upward pressure to the uterus by having a hand on the abdomen.
Circumvallate placenta Placenta with a distinct ridge on the fetal surface caused by a double fold of chorion, making it liable to separate partially, causing antepartum hemorrhage.
Duncan mechanism Separation of the placenta from the uterus beginning at the outermost edge of the placenta, with the rough (maternal) side presenting first. More likely with placentas implanted lower in the uterus.
Placenta The organ that sustains pregnancy, allowing transport of nutrients, oxygen, and every other substance to be transferred between mother and fetus.
Schultz mechanism Separation of the placenta from the uterus beginning at the middle of the placenta, with the smooth (fetal) side presenting first. More likely with placentas implanted closer to the fundus.
Velamentous insertion Type of insertion of umbilical cord, where cord vessels are divided before reaching the placenta – not protected by Wharton's jelly. Increases tearing of vessels and excessive bleeding during third stage.
Colostrum First fluid that is secreted from the breasts as part of lactation – formed during the last trimester and persists 1-5 days after birth. It is yellow, milky, high in protein, and full of antibodies to help establish the newborn intestinal flora.
Engorgement Painful accumulation of breastmilk in the breasts, often because of milk first coming in or going too long without breastfeeding. Can be easily fixed by breastfeeding on demand or using a breast pump to remove milk.
Foremilk The first milk secreted from the breasts after latching after initiating a flow – it is relatively thin and supposed to help quench the thirst of the newborn and is bluish in color.
Galactogogue Ga-lack-ta-gog A substance that increases milk production and secretion. It can refer to a substance that is created in the mother's body, is an herb, or a synthetic medication.
Hindmilk Hindmilk is secreted from the breasts after foremilk – it is thicker and denser, helping to satiate hunger. Foremilk and hindmilk are still just one milk created by the mother
Lactation Secretion of milk by the breasts.
Lactogenesis Lack-toe-jen-esis The onset of lactation. There are two stages of lactogenesis – the first being during pregnancy - colostrum. Stage two begins after birth and is brought about by the body's hormonal changes, increasing milk production and secretion.
Marmet technique Type of technique to hand express breastmilk. Fingers placed above and below areola. Gentle push toward chest, then roll down and outward to expel milk.
Prolactin Hormone from the anterior pituitary that stimulates and sustains milk production.
Couvelaire uterus Aka uteroplacental apoplexy. Ku-va-lar Bruised appearance of uterus caused by high uterine tension because of placental abruption, forcing blood into the myometrium and the peritoneal cavity.
Ecchymosis Eck-e-moe-sis The escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels
Hematoma A collection of clotted blood outside the blood vessels under the skin – a bruise.
Hemorrhage An excessive flow/discharge of blood
Hypotension Abnormally low blood pressure
Late postpartum hemorrhage Postpartum hemorrhage that occurs 24 hours to 6 weeks after birth.
Mastitis Inflammation of the breasts, most commonly caused by an infection. Gives off flu-like symptoms and most commonly treated with antibotics.
Placenta accreta Ah-crete-ah Abnormally adherent placenta attached too deeply, into the myometrium of the uterus, but does not penetrate uterine muscle.
Placenta increta In-crete-ah Abnormally adherent placenta attached even more deeply, within perimetrium – the outer and muscular layer of the uterus.
Placenta percreta Per-crete-ah Abnormal insertion of placenta in which it is totally attached to the perimetrium and even outside organs causing total adherence – hysterectomy is usually required to control hemorrhage.
Placenta previa Pre-vee-ah Placenta that is attached abnormally low in the uterus. There are different grades – 1-4 depending on how low and how much of the cervix the placenta covers. Grade 4 usually warrents an automatic c-section to control hemorrage.
Postpartum depression Depression up to one year after birth – characterised by feelings of sadness, guilt, and anxiety, difficulty concentrating, having trouble sleeping or eating, and lack of interest of energy. Therapy and medication can often help.
Postpartum psychosis Much more rare and severe then postpartum depression – usually accompanied by delusions, hallucinations, hyperactivity, inability to sleep, paranoia and rapid mood swings.
Subinvolution Incomplete to delayed return of the uterus to it's pre-pregnant size – often due to retained placental products or infection.
Succenturiate placenta suc-sent-ur-e-ate Or succenturiate lobe – which refers to a lobe of placenta that is separate from the main disc, although often connected by blood vessels. Can increase the likelihood of postpartum hemorrhage due to retained placenta.
Uterine inversion Relatively rare where the uterus has turned inside out. Usually caused by mismanagement of third stage, rarely happens spontaneously. Causes maternal shock, severe abdominal pain and hemorrhage.
Billing’s method Tracking changes in cervical mucus occurring 3-4 days before ovulation so that intercourse can be avoided during that time.
Cervical cap Type of barrier contraception – fits over the cervix and blocks sperm from entering the uterus.
Coitus Another term for intercourse.
Contraception Any method or device that is used to prevent pregnancy. Can be manual, hormonal, or surgical.
Rhythm method Contraception by daily temperature monitoring and tracking changes in cervical mucus in hopes of avoiding or pursuing intercourse during ovulation and a woman's most fertile days.
Spermicide Contraceptive agent that destroys sperm – often in a cream, foam, or paste that is applied to vaginal or cervical caps.
Created by: elisaself



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