Ectopic Pregnancy: a pregnancy that is not in the uterus. It happens when a fertilized egg settles and grows in a place other than the inner lining of the uterus. Most happen in the fallopian tube, but can happen in the ovary, cervix, or abdominal cavity.
Effacement: the shortening, or thinning, of the cervix before or during early labor.
Endometriosis: a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other areas of the body, usually inside the abdominal cavity, but acts as if it were inside the uterus. Blood shed monthly from the misplaced tissue has no place to go, and tissues surrounding the area of endometriosis may become inflamed or swollen. This can produce scar tissue. Symptoms include painful menstrual cramps that can be felt in the abdomen or lower back, or pain during or after sexual activity, irregular bleeding, and infertility.
Endometrium: The lining of the uterus.
Engorgement: condition in which breasts become overly full of milk. Engorged breasts may feel swollen, hard, and painful. Engorgement can lead to blocked milk ducts.
Epidural: a type of anesthesia offered to women in labor. A needle is inserted into a specific space at the end of the spin and medication is given to numb the lower body and reduce pain.
Episiotomy: a procedure where an incision is made in the perineum (area between the vagina and the anus) to make the vaginal opening larger in order to prevent the area from tearing during delivery.
Estrogen: a group of female hormones that is responsible for the development of breasts and other secondary sex characteristics in women. Estrogen is produced by the ovaries and other body tissues. Estrogen, along with progesterone, is important in preparing a woman’s body for pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): one of the most severe effects of drinking during pregnancy. FAS is one of the leading known preventable causes of mental retardation and birth defects. If a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, and her baby is born with FAS, the baby could face lifelong physical and mental disabilities. FAS is characterized by abnormal facial features, growth deficiencies and central nervous system problems (i.e., fetal brain damage). FAS is a permanent condition.
Fetal distress: when the fetus, during the labor process, shows signs of stress (not handling the labor process well). One possible sign of fetal distress is a decreased fetal heart rate. Another sign may be meconium (the earliest stool of an infant) in the amniotic fluid.
Fontanelles: soft spots on a baby’s head which, during birth, enable the soft bony plates of the skull to flex, allowing the head to pass through the birth canal. Fontanelles are usually completely hardened by a child’s second birthday.
Fraternal twin: at conception, 2 eggs are fertilized by 2 different sperm and implanted in the uterus. The twins will each have a placenta and their own amniotic sac.
Fundal height: a measure of the size of the uterus used to assess fetal growth and development. It is measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus in centimeters. It should match the fetus’ gestational age in weeks within 1 to 3 cm, e.g., a pregnant woman’s uterus at 22 weeks should measure 19 to 25 cm.
Genital herpes: An STD caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2).
Gestational age: the age of an embryo or fetus (or newborn infant) from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP) to the current date.
Gonorrhea: a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that often has no symptoms. However, some women have pain or burning when urinating; yellowish and sometimes bloody vaginal discharge; bleeding between menstrual periods; heavy bleeding with periods; or pain when having sex. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).