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Glossary of terms.

Abnormal uterine bleeding: Irregular menstrual bleeding or heavy menstrual bleeding (usually more than 80ml per month).

Antenatal care: Caring for women from the time of conceiving a pregnancy up to the time of delivery.

Caesarean Section: The delivery of a fetus by way of a surgical incision through the abdominal wall and the uterus. (In the mistaken belief Julius Caesar was born this way).

Colposcopy: An inspection, under magnification, of the cervix, usually following an abnormal pap smear to aid in diagnosing any abnormality.

Delivery Suite / Birth Centre / Labour floor: The area set aside in a hospital for the care of women whilst they give birth.

Fertility: The ability to produce offspring or to reproduce.

Forceps: A pair of curved metal instruments applied to the sides of a baby's head to assist in the birth process when the mother is unable to otherwise deliver the baby.

Gynaecology: The branch of medical science which deals with surgical and medical health of women.

Infertility: The inability to conceive a pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Intrapartum care: Caring for women during the process of giving birth.

Lower Segment Caesarean Section: A Caesarean section where the incision in the uterus is made in the lower part (lower segment). The common method of performing Caesarean sections except in extreme prematurity.

Menopause: The last menstrual period. The menopause is usually diagnosed when the last period is more than 12 months previous.

Midwife: A registered nurse with extra training in the care of women during childbirth. A nurse who helps women have babies and care for them.

Multiple Pregnancy: A pregnancy involving more than one fetus (includes twins (2 babies) triplets (3 babies) Quads ( 4 babies) quintuplets (5 babies) etc).

Nuchal translucency ultrasound: An ultrasound examination performed between 11 – 14 weeks gestation which combines a measurement of the nuchal skin fold thickness of the fetus with a measurement of two substances in maternal blood (B-hCG and Papp A) to predict the risk of trisomy 21, 13 and 18 in the fetus.

Obstetrics: The branch of medical science concerned with childbirth and caring for women in connection with childbirth.

Obstetrician and Gynaecologist: A specialist medical practitioner who has undergone post graduate specialty training and who specializes in the medical and surgical care of women and care of women during pregnancy.

Ovarian Cysts: Cystic structures found on the ovary. May be functional (hormonal) which spontaneously regress, endometriotic, benign or malignant.

Pap smear: A smear taken from the cervix (neck of the womb or uterus) which can detect pre cancerous lesions of the cervix.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A hormonal disorder affecting 12-21% of Australian women characterised by irregular menses, signs of excess androgens, polycystic ovaries and exclusion of other conditions such as hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hyperprolactinaemia, androgen secreting tumours and Cushing's syndrome.

Postnatal (or post partum) care: Caring for women after birth has been achieved.

Premature menopause: Menopause occurring before age 40. Will spontaneously affect 1% of women.

Prematurity: A baby delivered prior to 38 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Pre eclampsia: High Blood Pressure occurring for the first time during pregnancy. Also know as pregnancy associated hypertension.

Premenstrual syndrome: A cyclical mood disorder affecting women in the second half of the menstrual cycle.

Puerperium: The period of time from immediately after birth until 6 weeks after birth (post partum).

Term Pregnancy: A pregnancy which has progressed for the full expected duration of a pregnancy (40 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period).

Trimester: One of 3 approximately equal periods of 3 months which make up a pregnancy. Usually known as first, second and third trimesters.

Uterine Fibroids: Benign tumours comprised of fibrous tissue and muscle which grow within the uterus.

Vacuum Cup: A round soft plastic cup connected to a low pressure vacuum pump which is applied to a baby's head to assist in the birth process when the mother is otherwise unable to deliver the baby. Often used before forceps.