Glossary of Terms
Someone you trust who is willing to act on your behalf as well as someone who can work well with other members of your healthcare team.
Anesthesia and Analgesia (pain relief)
Using medicine to prevent the feeling of pain or another sensation during surgery or other procedures that might be painful (e.g. C-section or in terms of childbirth, epidural).
Stimulating the uterus with medication during labor to increase how frequent, how long, and how strong the contractions are.
Baby Friendly Birth
Designed to optimize mother-baby bonding and to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the first few days of a new baby’s life.
The baby comes out of the mother’s body.
A room in a hospital that is used for labor and childbirth and is designed to be comfortable and homelike.
Breast Feeding / Lactation
The action of feeding a baby with milk from the breast.
Cesarean Section (c-section)
When surgery is used to take the baby out of the mother. Doctors cut into the mother’s abdomen to get to the baby.
A disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal.
A procedure that involves making a small cut in the area between the vagina and the anus to enlarge the opening when the baby is about to be born. Episiotomy is not needed for most births and it may cause increased risk of severe tears.
Family Practice Doctors
Medical doctors who provide care during pregnancy, delivery, and following birth. Family practice doctors do not perform c-sections.
Detecting or listening to the unborn baby’s heart beat to check on their wellbeing while still inside their mother.
A tool shaped like salad tongs used to assist the doctor in bringing the baby outside the mother.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure greater than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or higher than usual for the pregnant mom.
Pregnancies with a greater chance of complications.
Induction of Labor
The process in which the baby and the placenta leave the uterus in three stages.
Maternal Fetal Medicine (Specialist)
A medical doctor that cares for high-risk pregnancies.
Normal Delivery / Birth
Labor started on its own, low-risk at the start of labor and remaining so throughout labor and delivery.
A healthcare professional who helps individuals, families, and communities to attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.
Medical doctors who specialize in care of pregnant and birthing mothers.
Allowing your body to go through labor naturally.
Getting care, taking care of yourself after giving birth.
Postpartum Warning Signs
Signs that something may be wrong and you should get checked out by your doctor or midwife, or go to the nearest emergency room.
High blood pressure, plus other possible signs and symptoms, which put mom and baby at risk for complications.
Health care you get while you are pregnant.
Provider or Healthcare Provider
A Midwife, Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant permitted (licensed) by the state to give a range of medical services depending on the training they received.
Care organized for and provided to all pregnant and birthing people in a manner that maintains their dignity, privacy and confidentiality, ensures freedom from harm and mistreatment, and enables informed choice and continuous support during labor and childbirth.
When the baby stays in the room with you after you’ve given birth.
Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery
Giving birth through the vagina without the help of tools to bring the baby out.
Vacuum Assisted Vaginal Delivery
When suction is used to help bring the baby out of the mother.
To make a prior examination and critical analysis, or detailed evaluation, of a document, a line of action regarding someone or people, etc.: If something is vetted, it is checked carefully to make sure that it meets the requirements that government officials have established regarding the quality of Maternity Care available in the local area.