Labor Room Lingo

Labor Room Lingo

Feeling lost with this new language during pregnancy? We’re here to help.

UTERUS
Also known as the womb, this is where your baby grows and develops.

AMNIOTIC SAC
Sometimes called “bag of water”, this sac is filled with amniotic fluid that surrounds your growing baby in the uterus. This sac is your baby’s home and protection from outside knocks and bumps. Before or during labour, the amniotic sac will break and the fluid will drain out through the cervix and vagina.

CERVIX
This is your baby’s passageway to exit the womb. During childbirth, contractions of the uterus will
dilate the cervix up to 10cm in diameter to allow the baby to pass through.

MUCUS PLUG
A small plug of mucus in the cervix that protects the baby from infection.

PERINEUM
This is the area of muscle and tissue between the vagina and the rectum. Sometimes during natural birth this area can tear, but this can be avoided by doing perineal massage during pregnancy and good positioning during pushing.

LABOUR CHANGES EPISIOTOMY
An incision made to the perineum to widen the vaginal opening for delivery.

TRANSITION
This is the intensive and shortest stage of labour. Here the cervix dilates from 7cm to 10cm and contractions are very strong. When the cervix is fully dilated, pushing can begin.

CONTRACTIONS
The regular tightening and relaxing of the uterine muscles in order to help push your baby down the birth canal.

EFFACEMENT
This is when the cervix stretches and thins out in response to a contraction.

DILATION
As the cervix effaces it also starts stretching and widens to make it easier for the baby to pass through.

CROWNING
This is the moment when the baby’s head stops slipping back into the vagina during pushing.

AFTER BIRTH APGAR SCORE
This assessment measures the appearance, pulse, facial expression, activity and respiration of your baby. This is done at one and five minutes after birth.

COLOSTRUM
The first milk that is secreted in the first few days after delivery.

VERNIX
This is the white chunky substance that coats the newborn baby’s skin. It can be washed off after birth.

CORD BLOOD
This is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. The blood contains
stem cells unique to your baby, and can be harvested

BABY Monitoring FOETAL DISTRESS
Condition when the baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen or is experiencing another complication.
EXTERNAL ELECTRONIC FOETAL MONITOR
This is a common method used to monitor your contractions as well as how your baby is coping with the labour.
MEDICATION Pitocin
Given to induce labour, this is a synthetic form of the body’s hormone oxytocin, responsible for starting contractions.

Epidural
A method of pain relief during labour where anaesthetic is inserted into the lower spine to block all feeling to the lower half of your body. It’s administered through a catheter and can be topped up.

Spinal block
Used only in c-sections, a spinal block provides anaesthesia to your abdomen and lower body for a limited time, but can’t be topped up.

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