Pregnancy Terms:A-BC-DE-GH-LM-OP-ST-Y
Glossary: H to L | Pregnancy Terms

Hemorrhoids:  veins around the anus or lower rectum that are swollen and inflamed.

Hepatitis B:  a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver.  The virus can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.  You get hepatitis B by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person: for instance, you can become infected by having sex or sharing needles with an infected person.  A baby can get hepatitis B from an infected mother during childbirth.

Hernia:  a protusion of a tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the muscular tissue or the membrane by which it is normally contained.

High blood pressure:  also known as hypertension.  Blood pressure is considered high when it is greater than 140/90.

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG):  a hormone produced in pregnancy.  Pregnancy tests (urine and blood) measure the levels of this hormone to indicate the presence or absence of an implanted embryo.

HIV:  the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  HIV infection can produce no symptoms for many years.  When certain symptoms develop, as person has AIDS.  HIV infection is life-long, there is no cure. 

Hyperemesis:  a severe form of morning sickness, with unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.

Hypertension:  also known as high blood pressure.  Blood pressure readings of greater than 140/90 are considered high.

Identical twin:  at conception, a single egg is fertilized which then divides in to 2 separate embryos. The twins will share 1 placenta and 1 amniotic sac.

Incompetent cervix:  a circumstance where a pregnant woman’s cervix begins to dilate (widen) and efface (thin) before her pregnancy has reached term.

Induced labor:  starting labor in a pregnant woman using artificial means (as opposed to labor occurring naturally/on its own).  One way to induce labor is with the use of a medication such as Pitocin. 

Jaundice:  it is the yellow color seen in the skin of many newborns.  Jaundice happens when a chemical called Bilirubin builds up in the baby’s blood.  If not treated, high levels of Bilirubin can cause brain damage.

Kegels:  exercises designed to strengthen and give voluntary control over the pubococcygeus muscles (muscles that help with urinary control and childbirth) .

Labor:  culmination of a pregnancy or gestation period with the delivery of one or more newborn infants from the mother’s uterus.

Lactation consultant:  a professional who is trained to help mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

Lamaze:  a type of childbirth education.  The goal of Lamaze classes is to increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth.  Lamaze classes teach women simple coping strategies for labor, including focused breathing.  Lamaze also teaches about other things that may help a woman in labor, such as movement, positioning, labor support, massage, relaxation, water therapy and the use of heat and cold.

Large for gestational age:  a baby whose birth weight lies above the 90th percentile for that gestational age.

Linea nigra:  refers to the dark vertical line that appears on the abdomen during pregnancy.

Local anesthetic / analgesic:  an analgesic is a drug that relieves pain.  Pain-relieving drugs can be given to a woman during labor and delivery through a needle inserted into a muscle or under the skin.  A local anesthetic prevents the recipient from feeling pain in a targeted area.

Lochia:  a postpartum vaginal discharge, containing blood, mucous, and placental tissue.  Lochia discharge typically continues for 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth.

Pregnancy Terms:A-BC-DE-GH-LM-OP-ST-Y
Next: M to O | Pregnancy Terms