Labor Signs Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Labor Signs article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Amniotic fluid: The fluid bathing a fetus within the uterus, which serves as a shock absor...

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Amniotic sac: The amniotic sac and amniotic fluid.

Bloody show: Literally, the appearance of blood, a classic sign of impending labor. The bl...

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Braxton Hicks contractions: Irregular contractions of the womb (the uterus) occurring towa...

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Capillaries: Capillaries are the smallest of blood vessels. They serve to distribute oxyge...

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Cervix: The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, ...

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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Corticotropin-releasing hormone: A hormone made by the hypothalamus that stimulates the re...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. Also known as dilatate.

Discharge: 1.The flow of fluid from part of the body, such as from the nose or vag...

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False labor: Intermittent non-productive muscular contractions of the womb (uterus) during...

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Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degr...

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Gestation: The period of time from conception to birth.

Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Labor: Childbirth, the process of delivering a baby and the placenta, membranes, and umbil...

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Last menstrual period: By convention, pregnancies are dated in weeks starting from the fir...

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Lightening: Not to be confused with a discharge of atmospheric electricity, lightening re...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Menstrual: Pertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrua...

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Midwife: A trained person who assists women during childbirth. Many midwives also provide ...

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Mucous: Pertaining to mucus, a thick fluid produced by the lining of some tissues of the b...

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Mucus: A thick fluid that is produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Nurse: 1) A person trained, licensed, or skilled in nursing. 2) To feed an infant at the ...

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Nurse practitioner: A registered nurse (RN) who has completed an advanced training program...

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Obstetrician: A physician who specializes in obstetrics.

Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Ounce: A measure of weight equal to 1/16th of a pound or, metrically, 28.35 gra...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the h...

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Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones. Structures in the fe...

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Placenta: A temporary organ that joins the mother and fetus, transferring oxygen and nutri...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Rupture: A break or tear in any organ (such as the spleen) or soft tissue (such as the ach...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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Vaginal discharge: Vaginal discharge is a fluid produced by glands in the vaginal wall and...

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Vaginal opening: The exterior opening to the vagina, the muscular canal that extends from ...

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