Embryo: In the early weeks after conception, before the various body structures can
be identified, the fetus is called an embryo.
Endometrium: This is the lining inside the womb cavity, on which an embryo implants.
This is also the lining that is shed every month if pregnancy does not occur hence
Engagement of the head: When the largest diameter of the fetal head descends into
the pelvis, it is said to be engaged. Normally, once this occurs, it stays there.
Contrary to widespread belief, engagement of the head has no predictive value for
labour onset. It could equally occur one month or one hour before the onset of labour.
Episiotomy: The incision or cut that is made on the perineum to increase the size
of the opening, thereby facilitating delivery.
Erosion of the cervix: An unfortunately misleading but widely used term to describe
a condition of the cervix that causes easy bleeding of the cervix. It is influenced
by hormones and is therefore most common in pregnancy and with use of the combined
Expected Date of Delivery (EDD): This is the date calculated starting from onset
of the last period and which falls exactly forty weeks later (the average pregnancy
duration). It is also called the Expected Date of confinement (EDC). It is more of
a guide than an accurate prediction of when the baby will be delivered.
Fallopian tubes: Tubes which transport sperm toward the egg and also transport the
fertilized egg or zygote towards the uterine cavity, where implantation ought to
Fetus: The growing baby in the womb. Also spelt foetus.
Follicles: The cysts on the ovaries, which contain eggs. Normally, one follicle matures
to release an egg every month.
Fontanelles: The soft areas on the baby's skull, which represent the meeting points
of the various bones constituting the skull. The one to the front is called the anterior
fontanelle and the one at the back the posterior fontanelle. At vaginal examination,
one tries to locate these landmarks in order to determine how the baby's head is
positioned in the birth canal.
Fraternal twins: Yet another term used to describe non-identical twins.
Fundus of uterus: The top of the dome of the uterus. A fundal height refers to the
distance between the pubic bone and the topmost point of the uterus. It is used as
a guide for the progress of the pregnancy.
Gametes: The eggs (ova) and the sperm. These are the female and male gametes respectively.