Placenta: during pregnancy, a temporary organ joining the mother and fetus. The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus, and permits the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus. The placenta is expelled during the birth process with the fetal membranes.
Placenta previa: the implantation of the placenta over or near the top of the cervix.
Preconception: before a woman gets pregnant.
Pre-eclampsia: also known as Toxemia, it is a condition that can occur in a woman in the second half of her pregnancy that can cause serious problems for both her and the baby. It causes high blood pressure, protein in the urine, blood changes and other problems.
Pregnancy test: a urine or blood test given to a woman to determine whether or not she is pregnant.
Premature rupture of membranes (PROM): a condition which occurs in pregnancy when the amniotic sac ruptures before the onset of labor.
Preterm labor: labor that occurs before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Primigravida: a woman who is pregnant for the first time or has been pregnant one time.
Progesterone: a female hormone produced by the ovaries. Progesterone, along with estrogen, prepares the uterus (womb) for a possible pregnancy each month and supports the fertilized egg is conception occurs. Progesterone also helps prepare the breasts for milk production and breastfeeding.
Prolapsed cord: it is when the umbilical cord presents itself outside of the uterus while the fetus is still inside. Cord prolapse is an obstetric emergency during pregnancy or labor that endangers the life of the baby.
Quickening: the initial motion of the fetus in the womb as it is perceived or felt by a pregnant woman. The first natural sensation of quickening may feel like a light tapping, or the fluttering of a butterfly. These sensations eventually become stronger and more regular as the pregnancy progresses. Sometimes, the first movements are misattributed to gas or hunger pangs.
Small for gestational age (SGA): a baby whose birth weight lies below the 10th percentile for that gestational age.
Sperm: Cell found in semen that can get a woman pregnant.
Spina bifida: a birth defect in which there is a failure of a fetal spine to close the right way when it is developing before birth. It occurs very early in pregnancy, roughly 3-4 weeks after conception, before most women know that they are pregnant. Most women who bear a child with Spina bifida have no family history of it.
Spontaneous abortion: an unplanned loss of a pregnancy. Also called a miscarriage.
Stillbirth: when a fetus dies during birth, or when the fetus dies during the late stages of pregnancy when it would have been otherwise expected to survive.
Stretch marks: red, pink, or purple streaks in the skin. Most often they appear on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. These scars are caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): the diagnosis given for the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation. Because most cases of SIDS occur when a baby is sleeping in a crib, SIDS is also commonly known as crib death. Most SIDS deaths occur when a baby is between 1 and 4 months of age.
Syphilis: a sexually transmitted disease which may or may not have symptoms. Symptoms in the first stages can include painless sores on the genitals, anus, or mouth and enlarged lymph nodes in the area around the sore. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. If left untreated, syphilis can cause permanent physical damage and even death.