Being a pregnant girl can be a very scary and difficult thing, especially if you develop complications and/or your doctor is throwing all of these huge words at you that you have no idea what they mean, but at the same time you don't want to appear stupid either. First of all, rest assured that you won't appear stupid, most people, unless they have a medical background, don't know what the words mean either. Don't ever be afraid to ask a question and don't ever leave your doctor's office without completely understanding the information that he has shared with you. But to help you out in the mean time, here are a few words and their meanings as they apply to pregnancy.
Diagnostic Pregnancy Terminology
Amniocentesis - is a surgical procedure in which a needle is passed through your abdominal and uterine walls to get a sample of the amniotic fluid. This test is normally done after the 16th week of pregnancy and will be used to tell if your baby has health and/or certain congenital disorders.
Chorionic villus sampling - is when your doctor takes samples of the chorionic cells from the placenta during the 8th to 10th week of your pregnancy. This will tell your doctor if your baby is experiencing any genetic abnormalities while he or she is developing.
An electronic fetal monitor - is a device that monitors the heartbeat of your baby and your uterine contractions during labor.
Fetal ultrasound - is a noninvasive procedure that is used to evaluate how your baby is developing and can also tell you the sex of your baby before it is born.
Pelvimetry - is the measurement of the dimensions of the pelvis to determine if your birth canal is large enough to deliver your baby.
A pregnancy test - is performed on either a blood or urine specimen to determine human chorionic gonadotropin levels. An unusually high level usually indicates pregnancy.
An apgar score - is an evaluation of a newborn infant's physical status by assigning numerical values to each of five criteria - heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, response stimulation and skin color. Your baby will be evaluated at 1 and 5 minutes after birth, and a total score of 8 to 10 indicates the best possible condition.
A cesarean delivery - which is also known as a c-section is the delivery of your baby through an incision in the maternal abdominal and uterine wall.
The vaginal delivery of your next child after a c-section is referred to as a VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean.
An episiotomy - is a surgical incision of the perineum and vagina to facilitate delivery and prevent laceration of the tissues. A laceration is a jagged tear of the tissue.
An episiorrhapy - is a sutured repair of an episiotomy.