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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Answers


Antenatal: This literally means `before birth'. The antenatal period is the pregnancy period, from conception to onset of labour. The other term for antenatal is "prenatal", mostly used in the USA.

Anterior: To the front. The opposite is posterior, which is "to the back".

Areola: The dark area surrounding the nipple on the breast.

Bartholin's abscess: An abscess, which may form on either side of the vaginal entrance. It affects a gland which goes by the same name. the gland's natural function is to produce lubricating secretions during sexual intercourse.

Binovular twins: Non-identical twins, arising from separate eggs. The opposite is monovular twins, i.e. those arising from one egg and therefore identical.

Biophysical profile: This is a way of assessing the fetal well­being by looking at physical activity attributes. These are assessed by using ultrasound scanning. Things like muscle tone, limb movements, amniotic fluid volume and movement of the diaphragm as well as the pattern of the fetal heartbeat are collectively assessed to give a "biophysical profile score". The maximum score is 10. A score of 8-10 is good. A score of 6 is a cause for some concern and normally will prompt a plan, either repeating the test in a matter of hours or even delivery. A score of 2 or 4 always calls for some action, usually delivery.

BPD: BPD is a short form of the term biparietal diameter, one of the measurements taken of the fetus to determine growth or gestation. It is the distance             
between one ear and the other.

Braxton-Hicks contractions: The irregular, usually painless, con­tractions that occur from the second half of pregnancy. Some people have called them "practice" contractions. Braxton Hicks was the person who first described them and immortalized himself on their back.

Breech: The bottom of the baby. Breech presentation therefore simply means the fetus's bottom is the leading part in the abdomen.

Candidiasis: Candida is the name of the fungus that causes vaginal thrush. Vaginal candidiasis therefore is the same as vaginal thrush.

Caput: The swelling that forms on the leading part of the baby's head in labour. In fact it is oedema (or swelling) of the scalp skin. It is most common in prolonged labour.

Carcinoma: Type of cancer.
Cervix: Neck of the womb.

Chorionic gonadotrophin: This is the so-called "pregnancy hormone". It is produced by the placenta. The most common term for it is HCG, which stands for "human chorionic gonadotrophin".
Chorionic Villus Sampling: Also known in its short form of CVS. It is the taking of a placental biopsy for genetic or chromosomal diagnostic purposes.

Coagulation: Clotting. Used in reference to blood.
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