A - Z Of Pregnancy Terms

Here is an A-Z list of 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


Oligohydramnios: Lack or deficiency of amniotic fluid.

Omphalocele: Presence of congenital outpouching of the umbilicus containing internal organs in the fetus or newborn infant.

Organogenesis: Development of the organ systems in the embryo.

Ossification: Bone formation.

Ovarian cycle: Regular production of hormones from the ovary in response to hormonal messages from the brain. The ovarian cycle governs the endometrial cycle.

Ovulation: Cyclical production of an egg from the ovary.

Oxytocin: Medication that causes uterine contractions.


Pap smear: A routine screening test that evaluates the presence of premalignant or cancerous conditions of the cervix.

Paracenrical block: Local anesthetic for cervical dilatation.

Pelvimetry: Evaluation of the size of the birth canal or pelvis. Performed by X-ray.

Petit mal seizure: Attack of a brief nature with possible short impairment of consciousness. Often associated with blinking or flickering of the eyelids and a mild twitching of the mouth.

Phosphatidyl glycerol: Lipoprotein present when fetal lungs are mature.

Phospholipids: Fat-containing phosphorous. The most important are lecithins and sphingomyelin, which are important in the maturation of fetal lungs before birth.

Physiologic anemia of pregnancy: Anemia during pregnancy caused by an increase in the amount of plasma (fluid) in the blood compared to the number of cells in the blood.

Placenta: Organ inside the uterus that is attached to the baby by the umbilical cord. Essential during pregnancy for growth and development of the embryo and fetus.

Placenta accreta: Placenta that attaches to muscle of uterus.

Placenta increta: Placenta that grows into muscle of uterus.

Placenta percreta: Placenta that penetrates muscle of uterus.

Placenta previa: Low attachment of the placenta, covering or very close to the cervix.

Placental abruption: Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus.

Placentamegaly: Abnormally large growth of the placenta during pregnancy.

Pneumonitis: Inflammation of the lungs.

Premature baby: Baby born before 37 weeks.

Postnatal blues: Mild depression after delivery.

Postpartum depression: Depression after delivery.

Postpartum hemorrhage: Bleeding greater than 15 ounces (450ml) at time of delivery.

Pre-eclampsia: Combination of symptoms significant to pregnancy, including high blood pressure, edema, swelling and changes in reflexes.

Premature delivery: Delivery before 37 weeks gestation.

Presentation: Describes which part of the baby comes into the birth canal first.

Proteinuria: Protein in urine.

Pruritis gravidarum: Itching during pregnancy.

Pubic symphysis: Bony prominence in the pelvic bone found in the midline. Landmark from which the doctor often measures during pregnancy to follow growth of the uterus.

Pulmonary embolism: Blood clot from another part of the body that travels to the lungs. Can cause closed passages in the lungs and decrease oxygen exchange.

Pyelonephritis: Serious kidney infection.


Quickening: Feeling the baby move inside the uterus.


Rh-negative: Absence of rhesus antibody in the blood.

RhoGAM: Medication given during pregnancy and following delivery to prevent isoimmunization. See Isoimmunization.

Round-ligament pain: Pain caused by stretching ligament on the sides of the uterus during pregnancy.

Rupture of membranes: loss of fluid from the amniotic sac. Also called breaking of waters.

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