You might hear dozens of new scientific words and terms each time you happen to meet your doctor. Don’t worry. They are not as complicated as they sound to you.
Terms related to Fertility and Pregnancy
There are currently 118 names in this directory
A substance produced by the fetus. High levels in a mother's blood can indicate a neural tube defect or multiple pregnancy.
Cracks in the anus that can cause bleeding. Anal fissures can be accompanied by hemorrhoids or appear independently. Constipation causes and/or compounds them.
A decrease in the number of red blood cells, usually due to a shortage of iron. The condition, detected through a blood test, causes such symptoms as fatigue, weakness, breathlessness, or fainting spells. Eating a diet rich in iron and taking an iron supplement during the second half of pregnancy is crucial to keep up with the increased need for red blood cells.
Medically induced loss of sensation. General anesthesia involves the entire body; local anesthesia involves only a particular area.
The general name for the procedure in which sperm are inserted directly into a woman's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus.
Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART)
The general term for infertility procedures (involving both egg and sperm) such as IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, and ICSI.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
A temperature reading that can be used to chart ovulation when taken every day.
Body mass index (BMI)
The relationship of a person's height to weight. The formula the formula is calculated by multiplying 703 by a person's weight (in pounds) and dividing that number by the square of the person's height (in inches).
Breaking of water
The bursting of the sac holding the amniotic fluid using an instrument resembling a crochet hook with a pointy tip. Practitioners often break the waters to speed up a labor that has slowed.
Fetal position in which the feet or buttocks of the baby are closest to the mother's cervix when labor begins.
A disorder caused by a prenatal brain defect or brain injury during birth. It affects a child's ability to move, can result in seizures, and in some cases can lead to mental retardation or learning disabilities.
An early loss that ends before the next period is due. There are usually no pregnancy symptoms, but a blood test can reveal small amounts of the pregnancy hormone HCG.
When a sperm and egg join to form a single cell, usually in the fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg travels into the uterus, where it implants in the lining.
The rhythmic tightening and relaxation of the uterine muscles that results in effacement and dilation of the cervix and the delivery of the baby. True labor contractions usually come in a regular pattern, gradually becoming closer together and increasing in intensity. The frequency of contractions is measured from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction.
A congenital chromosomal birth defect that results in mental handicap/limitations and possible physical problems.
The estimated date a baby might be born. It is determined based on the first day of a woman's last menstruation. See Naegele's rule.
A serious complication of pregnancy, characterized by seizures. It is the more severe form of preeclampsia.
When a woman provides her eggs to help an infertile woman. The donor's ovaries are stimulated by drugs to produce extra eggs, which are surgically removed, fertilized, and then implanted in the recipient's uterus.
Endodermal germ layer
Also known as the endoderm or entoderm, this inner layer of cells in the embryo eventually develops into the digestive tract, respiratory organs, genitals, bladder, and urethra.
A painful condition in which tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus.
A type of anesthesia used to relieve pain during delivery. The catheter is placed in the epidural space in the vertebra area in the mother's back.
This tiny device this is planted in the fallopian tubes in an effective, permanent form of birth control called an hysteroscopic sterilization. Essure is hormone-free and can be placed during a procedure done in the doctor's office and without the need for general anesthesia. Each woman receives two Essure devices. Afterwards, some women have problems which can include changes in their monthly period, pain in the lower belly, or allergic reactions to the metal in the coil.
Two hollow tubes on either side of the uterus where the egg and sperm meet to begin the process of fertilization.
This is when you experience irregular tightening of the pregnant uterus that begins during the first three months of pregnancy. The contractions increase in time, length and strength as pregnancy continues. It may be impossible for you to differentiate from "real" labor.
This B vitamin, found in prenatal vitamins and green leafy vegetables, prevents anemia and has been shown to reduce incidence of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
A group of cells forming a cavity in the ovary where the egg grows before it's released during ovulation.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
A hormone produced in the pituitary gland that causes cells in the ovaries to grow. Sold under the name Follistim, Fertinex, and Gonal-F.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
An assisted reproductive technique that involves removing sperm and eggs, mixing them together and placing them into the fallopian tubes.
The duration of the pregnancy, measured from the first day of the last menstrual period.
A condition that develops during pregnancy when blood sugar levels become too high because the mother doesn't produce enough insulin. Gestational diabetes can be treated, and it usually disappears after pregnancy.
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH)
A hormone produced in the hypothalamus of the brain that is involved in triggering ovulation. Sold under the name Factrel and Lutrepulse.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
A hormone that can be used to trigger ovulation. Sold under the names Novarel, Pregnyl, and Ovidrel.
An X-ray which involves injecting dye through the cervix into the uterus to determine if the fallopian tubes are open and the uterine cavity is normal.
A procedure in which a thin, telescope-like instrument is inserted through the cervix into the uterus, allowing the doctor to see and photograph the area, and correct problems if needed.
Identical twins are formed from the division of one fertilized egg that then grows into two fetuses. They are genetically identical and will look exactly alike.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
An assisted reproductive technique that involves removing sperm and eggs, fertilizing them in a laboratory, then placing a fertilized egg in the uterus.
Typically defined as an inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
A laboratory procedure in which sperm and eggs are retrieved from both partners. A single sperm is injected directly into an egg, then the fertilized egg is implanted into the woman's uterus.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
An artificial insemination technique in which sperm are put directly into a woman's uterus at the time she is ovulating.
A procedure that involves insertion of a narrow, telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope through a small incision in the abdomen.
Last menstrual period (LMP)
The first day of mother's last menstrual period. The date is used to figure the baby's estimated due date.
Lumbar epidural (LEP)
Pain medicine used to cause a decrease of sensation (numbness) in a specific region of the body – the lumbar region, or lower back. Used for labor pain (when desired) and for Cesarean section births.
An infection of a milk duct in the breast. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, redness, and fever. Treatment for mastitis includes massage, warm compress, continued breastfeeding from the infected side, and usually antibiotics.
Nausea, vomiting, and food and smell aversions, that affects more than 70 percent of pregnant women. Morning sickness, which can occur any time of day, usually begins at four to eight weeks gestation and subsides by week 14 or 16.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Special care nursery for babies who are premature (born before 37 weeks) or who need specific care or observation.
A routine medical test to check for abnormalities in the cells of a woman's cervix. A pap smear is usually performed at the first prenatal visit.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries due to infection; a cause of infertility in some women.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
A common hormonal condition in which an imbalance in the sex hormones may cause menstrual abnormalities, skin and hair changes, obesity, infertility and other long-term health problems. The name comes from the multiple small cysts which line the ovaries of most women with the disorder. This condition is often associated with infertility.
A standard fertility test in which a sample of cervical mucus is taken after intercourse to check the number and behavior of the sperm.
A disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, edema, and kidney malfunction. Elevated blood pressure in the last half of pregnancy accompanied by swelling of face, hands, and feet, and protein in the urine.
Premature Ovarian Failure
A condition in which a woman enters menopause before age 40 as a result of the ovaries ceasing ovulation and the production of estrogen.
A condition in which semen enters the bladder during ejaculation instead of leaving the penis.
A standard test of a man's semen to check the number and shape of his sperm and their motility.
The main agents of male reproduction, which are produced in the testes and released into the semen.
Discolored linear patterns that result from stretching of the skin. In pregnancy, stretch marks, also known as striae, may appear on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and legs; they usually fade slowly after delivery.
Stimulation of the ovaries, usually done with hormones, that causes them to produce multiple eggs instead of one.
A surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are surgically closed by cutting, clamping, banding, tying or sealing them to prevent pregnancy.
The structure through which the fetus draws blood, and thus oxygen and nutrients, from the placenta.
A surgical procedure for men that prevents sperm from reaching the urethra, making him sterile.