Pregnancy Glossary


Quickening: The first fetal movements felt by the mother.

Rh factor: A group of antigens in the blood.

Rubella: Also called German measles. If contracted by woman during pregnancy, it can result in birth defects.

Show: The blood-stained mucus from the vagina, indicating that labor is about to begin.

Sonography: The use of ultrasound (sound waves) to form an image of the fetus.

Stillbirth: Delivery of a dead fetus after 28 weeks' gestation.

Striae: Streaks or "stretch marks" seen on the abdomen of a pregnant woman.

Toxemia of pregnancy: Another term for preeclampsia.

Toxoplasmosis: A disease caused by a parasite. It may be present in undercooked meat or cat feces.

Transverse presentation: Position in which the fetus is lying at right angles to the cervix when labor begins.

Trimester: One-third of a pregnancy.

Tubal pregnancy: The most common form of ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg begins to develop in the fallopian tube.

Umbilical cord: The structure through which the fetus draws blood, and thus oxygen and nutrients, from the placenta.

Vernix: A white, sticky substance that covers the fetus in the uterus.

Sources: What to Expect When You're Expecting, Workman Publishing Co., 1991; Complete Pregnancy and Baby Book, Publications International, Ltd., 1987; National Women's Health Information Center/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Miriam Stoppard's Pregnancy and Birth Book, Ballantine Books, 1987

Reviewed 11/02 by Elizabeth Stein, CNM

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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