Active Labour – When your contractions come closer and closer together. This stage is generally when your cervix dilates from 4cm through to the full 10cm.
Cervix – The cervix is the neck at the base of the uterus that joins into the top end of the vagina.
Colostrum – Colostrum is the first milk baby drinks before more mature milk comes in. It is a yellowy/orange colour and clear. It can start appearing as early as 5 weeks into pregnancy and once baby starts feeding, will change into mature milk within a few days.
Dating Scan – A scan that is done between 8-12 weeks gestation. This age is the best for determining the due date for the baby. The older and larger the baby is, the more inaccurate scans will be in regards to due dates.
Dilated – This means the cervix has begun to open up to allow baby to pass through and be born. It needs to be dilated 10cm for birth to occur. Some women may be dilated up to 2-4cm for weeks before going into labour.
Estimate Due Date (EDD) – This is the date that the baby is expected to arrive on, usually the 40 week mark. However it is completely normal for a baby to arrive anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks. The EDD can be up to a week out either way, depending on your cycle and scan accuracy. Most babies are not born on their EDD.
Effaced – The cervix is thick and long but as labour nears it gets shorter. The shortening is referred to as being effaced. When you are fully effaced and dilated, you can push the baby out.
Full Term – Although this generally is used to mean a mother who is 40 weeks pregnant, it really applies anywhere between 37-42 weeks. It basically means that the baby is fully grown and ready to meet the outside world without any difficulty that may be cause by a premature birth.
Gestational Diabetes – This is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. In most cases it will disappear after the birth of your baby. A test is usually done to check if you have it between 22-28 weeks. If you do, you’ll need to be tested and treated regularly to avoid an oversize baby. However as long as you receive treatment, it should not be a major complication in your pregnancy or birth.
Glucose Test – A test done at 22-28 weeks to see if you have gestational diabetes. The test involves drinking a sweet glucose liquid and then having your blood tested to see how you react. You need to avoid any sweet or sugary items before the test as these may skew the results. Read more about gestational diabetes and preparing for the glucose test.
Induction – If you have medical complications or the baby is postdate/overdue, your doctor may recommend an induction. This means bringing on labour through medical means. Induction can be as simple as breaking your waters but if active labour does not begin within a certain time frame, you may need a drip or different gels and medications. You can read more about what to expect in a medical induction here.
Meconium – Baby’s first poo. This normally occurs immediately after birth or within a short time after. It is generally a black or dark green colour and is made up of the various things your baby imbibed in the womb. However if baby is in distress or is overdue (mature bowels) then it can sometimes occur before the baby is born. This may lead to aspiration and complications.
Morning Sickness – This is a misnomer – many women experience this during any part of the day. It can involve either nausea or vomiting and for some women continue for the entire day. Most women only experience it in the first trimester, but in some cases it can last for the entire pregnancy.
Overdue – Although many people assume that they are overdue as soon as they pass their EDD, this isn’t correct. You are not overdue till you pass the 42 week mark.
Premature – Any baby born before 37 weeks gestation is classed as premature. Babies as young as 22 weeks have survived, but the earlier they are born, the higher risks they have of death or medical complications.
Placenta – This is an organ attached to the inside of the mother’s uterus and attached to the baby via the umbilical cord. It is used to filter blood and nutrients and then deliver them to the baby. After the baby is born it is no longer needed, so will detach from the wall of the womb and be delivered after the baby.
Postdate – Postdate means that you have gone past your EDD. However you are not overdue till 42 weeks.
Show (or Bloody Show) – When you wipe, you may see some blood. If you are full term this is often a sign of impending labour. However if you are not full term this may be an indication of complications in the pregnancy. Either way, you should notify either the birthing suite or your doctor if you are worried.
Spotting – Small traces of blood when you wipe. It’s completely normal to have spotting in early pregnancy as the baby implants into the uterus and your body adjusts. However if you have heavy bleeding or any pain or strange smells, you should see your doctor.
Trimester – A normal pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting for just over 3 months. The first trimester lasts from approximately 1-14 weeks, the second from 14-28 weeks and the third from 28 weeks till the baby is born.