After getting that positive sign on the home that you and your partner have been looking at so often lately, you are now a dad-to-be. The tests will begin, the different symptoms will start showing now, and you will have a fantastic time once the baby is delivered. And while you strive to help make the pregnancy easier for the mom-to-be, you will come across a lot of terms that you will probably be unfamiliar with. These terms are related to the and are essential aspects of it, instead of feeling lost, confused and overwhelmed. It is about time you learn these, and we are here to help you, as always!
Here is a list of some of the basic terms that you better get yourself familiarised with.
Amniotic Fluid refers to the liquid present in the amniotic sac in the womb. This fluid cushions the baby from any sudden movements and ensures its comfort in the womb. It also helps regulate the temperature in order to keep the baby nice and warm. High or low levels of amniotic fluid can be a cause of concern as it can lead to foetal distress.
The baby blues are caused when the mom’s body and mind are adjusting to normalcy after the baby’s born. Getting upset over trivial things, feeling low, sad, are some of the symptoms of baby blues. If this continues beyond two weeks, chances are that the mother is experiencing postnatal depression and should see a therapist immediately.
When the baby’s weight is over 4 kg at birth, it is considered as a ‘big baby’. This is also known as macrosomia. Ideally, the weight of the baby is between 3-3.2 kg at birth. The obstetrician will do a pelvic examination and understand if a vaginal birth is a feasible option. If the baby is big, then a vaginal birth might not be viable, and the obstetrician will opt for a Caesarean.
Breech is when the baby’s buttocks or feet deliver first, instead of the head.
Irregular contractions of the uterus or false labour, as it is commonly known, are called the Braxton Hicks Contractions. These can occur from the fourth month of pregnancy or during the second trimester. These contractions come and go and do not change in intensity, duration or frequency. It’s just your uterus practicing for the real event. Adjust your position, drink a lot of fluids, or get enough rest to ease these contractions.
A miscarriage which happens before the 6-week mark is known as Chemical Pregnancy.
The tunnel made of tissues and muscles that connects the vagina and the uterus. It dilates during delivery. It also produces cervical mucus which changes in consistency to promote or prevent pregnancy.
Contractions feel like a more intense menstrual cramp, just in the lower abdomen, and are generally the first signs of labour. The intensity and frequency of contractions increases as the labour progresses. These are not eased even by changing positions or relaxing.
Colostrum is the yellow or orange, creamy liquid that seeps from the breasts during the last two weeks of pregnancy and lasts well into the first two weeks of breastfeeding. It contains vital antibodies that will help your baby develop its immunity and keep it safe from many diseases.
Congenital disorder refers to a disorder which is present during or before the birth of the baby. Also known as birth defects, these can be genetic or might have been caused by an infection during pregnancy.
The gradual opening of the cervix during labour is known as dilation. There needs to be a 10-cm dilation for the baby’s head to pass through smoothly. During dilation, your partner is in an ‘active labour’.
A fertilised egg generally gets down the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. When a fertilised egg attaches itself in the fallopian tube itself, it is known as . This might cause the fallopian tube to rupture and the symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, light-headedness, fainting and pain in your shoulder. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms during her pregnancy.
Epidural is a form of pain relief that is injected in the epidural space – the area close to the membrane that guards the spinal cord – during labour, in case the mother is in too much pain.
Episiotomy refers to the surgical cut made at the area between the vagina and the anus. The area is referred to as the perineum. The surgical cut is made in order to avoid the tearing of the vagina during delivery. The doctor stitches it up right after the delivery.
Gestational diabetes is basically the diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, and can interfere with the delivery and your baby’s health.
The GBS bacteria is found in the rectum and vagina, and should be treated immediately. If left untreated, it can travel up the birth canal and cause serious infections like meningitis, eye infections, pneumonia and developmental problems. Mothers who have an unusual vaginal discharge, are chronic smokers, have low immunity or have an autoimmune disorder are at a higher risk of having a GBS infection.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a vital hormone produced by the placenta. It is the hormone which causes morning sickness. It can be detected from about two weeks of conception till delivery, in the blood and urine. The doctor will monitor your partner’s hCG levels consistently as it is a good indicator of any possible issues.
Incontinence refers to the lack of control on the bladder. Due to the pressure exerted by the baby on the uterus and the bladder, your partner may pass urine when she laughs, coughs, or even sneezes. Kegel exercises are recommended to strengthen the muscles around the pelvis and improve bladder control. Incontinence also continues a few weeks after delivery.
Also known as dropping, lightening refers to the baby moving into the lower abdomen towards the end of the third trimester. Your partner’s breathing will ease while the urge to pee will increase. It will also reduce acidity to a large extent.
Meconium is the baby’s poop for the first two or three days of its life after birth. It is black or green coloured, and will be thick and sticky. This poop is everything that the baby has consumed in the womb.
Morning sickness refers to the feeling of nausea which begins about four weeks into pregnancy and reduces by the second trimester. The heightened hormone production during that period leads to morning sickness and is triggered by certain smells, odours, and tastes.
Mucus plug seals the entrance to the womb. It is a cervical fluid present in the cervix during pregnancy. It passes from the vagina and out of the body during labour, and is a sign that your partner’s labour is going smooth and well.
Placenta is the supplier of oxygen and nutrients to your baby in the womb. It is located on the wall of the uterus and attached to the baby via the umbilical cord. It also removes toxins and waste products from the baby’s blood. It is expelled from your partner’s body following childbirth.
Starting from around the 10th week of pregnancy, your partner will undergo a number of tests to detect any issues with the baby in terms of birth defects and to monitor its growth and development. These tests continue throughout all trimesters and are called prenatal tests.
Progesterone is a hormone released by the ovaries. It helps ensure the fertilised egg is implanted in the uterus. During labour, it also helps expand the cervix.
Postnatal depression refers to the sadness felt by the mother after a few months of delivery. Signs of this include feeling low, lethargic, moody and suffering from insomnia. If you think your partner is suffering from postnatal depression, talk to her or seek professional help immediately.
Quickening refers to the baby’s kicks beginning around 20-22 weeks of pregnancy. A healthy baby is expected to move in the womb about 10 times in 12 hours on an average. The movement can be felt when the baby is jabbing, kicking, stretching or punching.
Ripening refers to the softening of the cervix as it readies itself for labour.
Spotting is when there’s a small amount of blood in the vaginal region. This can be caused by irritation of the cervix due to sex during pregnancy. If you are unsure, though, consult your doctor to ensure it is nothing harmful.
If the foetus is found to be in a horizontal position as opposed to a vertical position, it is known as transverse lie. Most babies adjust themselves to the head down position towards the end of pregnancy. But if that is not the case by 36 weeks, the doctor may advise to do a C-Section.
The placenta is connected to the baby with the umbilical cord. After delivery, the umbilical cord is cut off close to your baby’s body.
We hope our list helps you become more adept with your partner’s pregnancy and makes you better at easing it for her. If you have any more questions, ask us in the comments!