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MoonDragon's Midwives Vocabulary
MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY - B



Braxton Hicks Contractions

Irregular or "practice" contractions starting around the eighth month that prepare the uterus for labor. May be painless to uncomfortable and be mild to intense.

Baby Blues
(Post Partum Depression)

Mild depression that may last a couple of weeks following childbirth, usually the result of dramatic hormonal swings and the letdown after the excitement of labor and birth. See postpartum depression.

Bag of Waters
(Membranes, Amniotic Sac)

Sac filled with amniotic fluid in which the fetus grows, which may rupture naturally as labor begins or be punctured to speed up labor.

Bilirubin

Bilirubin is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of old red blood cells. It causes a harmless type of jaundice in about 50 percent of newborns because their young livers can't metabolize it quickly enough.

Birth Canal
(Vagina)

The passageway -- made up of the cervix, vagina, and vulva -- the baby travels through during birth.

Birthing Room

A place designed and equipped for women giving birth. Some are in hospitals, others are totally separate facilities.

Blastocyst

The rapidly dividing fertilized egg when it enters the uterus.

Bloody Show

The discharge - often mucus tinged with blood - that appears as labor approaches. Sometimes refers to light bleeding, other times is used to mean the mucus plug that dislodges when the cervix begins to efface and/or dilate.

Bradycardia

Slow heartbeat, usually less than 60 beats per minute.

Breast Pump

A device to extract milk from a mother's breasts so she can feed her infant later with a bottle. Pumps range from inexpensive manual models to powerful industrial-strength machines that can pump both breasts at the same time within a few minutes.

Breech Position
(Breech Presentation)

When the baby's bottom or feet - rather than the head - face the mother's cervix as labor nears. Three to four percent of full-term babies are positioned this way.

Breech Presentation
(Breech Position)

When the baby's bottom or feet -- rather than the head -- face the mother's cervix as labor nears. Three to four percent of full-term babies are positioned this way.





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