A - Z Of Pregnancy Terms

Here is an A-Z list some pregnancy terms you may hear while you are pregnant and some you will never hear of.

A-C | D-F | G-J | K-N | O-R | S-Z


D&C (dilatation and curettage): Surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and the lining of the uterus is scraped.

Developmental delay: Condition in which the development of the baby or child is slower than normal.

Diastasis recti: Separation of abdominal muscles.

Dizygotic twins: Twins derived from two different eggs. Often called fraternal twins.

Dysplasia: Abnormal, precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix.

Dysuria: Difficulty or pain urinating.


EDC (estimated date of confinement): Anticipated due date for delivery of the baby. Calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period.

Eclampsia: Convulsions and coma in a woman with pre-eclampsia. Not related to epilepsy.

Ectodermal germ layer: Layer in the developing embryo that gives rise to developing structures in the fetus. These include skin, teeth and glands of the mouth, the nervous system and the pituitary gland.

Ectopic pregnancy: Pregnancy that occurs outside the uterine cavity.

Effacement: Thinning of cervix.

Embryo: Organism in the early stages of development.

Embryonic period: First 10 weeks of gestation.

Endodermal germ layer: Area of tissue in early development of the embryo that gives rise to other structures. These include the digestive tract, respiratory organs, vagina, bladder and urethra. Also called endoderm or entoderm.

Endometrial cycle: Regular development of the mucous membrane lining the inside of the uterus. It begins with the preparation for acceptance of a pregnancy and ends with the shedding of the lining during a menstrual period.

Endometrium: Mucous membrane that lines inside of the uterine wall.

Enema: Fluid injected into the rectum for the purpose of clearing out the bowel.

Engorgement: Congested; filled with fluid.

Enzyme: Protein made by cells. It acts as a catalyst to improve or cause chemical changes in other substances.

Epidural block: Type of anesthesia. Medication is injected around the spinal cord during labour or other types of surgery.

Episiotomy: Surgical incision of the vulva (area behind the vagina, above the rectum). Used during delivery to avoid tearing or laceration of the vaginal opening and rectum.


Face presentation: Baby comes into the birth canal face first.

Fallopian tube: Tube that leads from the cavity of the uterus to the area of the ovary. Also called uterine tube.

False labour: Tightening of uterus without dilatation of the cervix.

Fasting blood sugar: Blood test to evaluate the amount of sugar in the blood following a time period of fasting.

Fertilization: Joining of the sperm and egg.

Fertilization age: Dating a pregnancy from the time of fertilization. 2 weeks earlier than the gestational age.

Fetal anomaly: Fetal malformation or abnormal development.

Fetal goiter: Enlargement of the thyroid in the fetus.

Fetal-growth retardation (IUGR): Inadequate growth of the fetus during the last stages of pregnancy.

Fetal monitor: Device used before or during labour to listen to and record the fetal heartbeat. Can be external monitoring (through maternal abdomen) or internal monitoring (through maternal vagina) of the baby inside the uterus.

Fetal period: Time period following the embryonic period (first 10 weeks of gestation) until birth.

Fetus: Refers to the unborn baby after 10 weeks of gestation until birth.

Forceps: Instrument used to help remove baby from the birth canal during delivery.

Frank breech: Baby presenting buttocks first. Legs are flexed and knees extended.


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