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MoonDragon's Midwives Vocabulary


A synthetic form of estrogen given to women between the 1940s to 1970s to inhibit miscarriage. Later discovered to have serious effects on women and children, including cancer, infertility, and miscarriage.

DTP Vaccine

A triple vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (also known as whooping cough). A series of 5 injections, given between the ages of 2 months and 6 years. Required to enter school.

DTaP Vaccine

Stands for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis vaccine. A newer version of the DPT vaccine, the acellular pertussis portion is less likely to cause a reaction in a child.


An injectable form of birth control.

Doppler Ultrasound

A device a practitioner places on the outside of a woman's abdomen with earphones, similar to a stethoscope, around the 12th week of pregnancy to detect a fetal heartbeat.

Down Syndrome

A chromosomal abnormality affecting around 1 in 800 to 1,000 births in the U.S. Signs and symptoms include small facial features, circulatory problems, and mild to severe mental retardation. May require special care.

Deficiency Diseases

Any disorder resulting from the lack of essential nutrients in the diet.


Dangerously low water levels in the body's tissues. Can occur suddenly in infants due to diarrhea and vomiting. Call a health care provider immediately.

Delivery Room

A traditional room in a hospital where a woman gives birth.


A mental condition characterized by feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, apathy, fatigue, and pessimism.

Developmental Milestones

Cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills that a child may develop, which indicate the stage of his development.


A disorder in which a person cannot effectively digest sugar.


A muscle that divides the chest from the abdomen.

Diaphragmatic Hernia

An abnormal hole in the diaphragm that allows intestinal organs to move into space normally occupied by the lungs. May be diagnosed by ultrasound and sometimes may require surgery.


Loose, watery, frequent bowel movements - sometimes associated with a virus or bacterial infection. Major side effect is dehydration, which can be critical in an infant.

Digestive System Disorders

When the system in the body that processes food and eliminates waste, keeping key nutrients, malfunctions. Disorders can range from gastroenteritis, to botulism, to appendicitis, to inflammatory bowel disease.


When the cervix widens during labor in preparation for the actual delivery.

Direct-Entry Midwife

(A midwife specially trained to advise women during pregnancy and to assist with birth and postpartum needs. A DEM entered midwifery without becoming a nurse (nursing and midwifery are two completely distinctive professions) prior to practicing midwifery. A DEM may have entered midwifery through a variety of routes which may include, but not be limited to, formal training through a midwifery school, midwifery study courses, on-the-job experience, apprenticeship, seminars, workshops and a variety of other routes of education and practice. A DEM may be certified (CM, CPM) or licensed (LM) by the state she resides and practices in, or she may remain uncertified or unlicensed for a variety of reasons (some states have made midwifery illegal or the standards are such that some midwives refuse to "jump through the legal and legislative hoops" set by various organizations or states and prefer to keep the "art of midwifery" an art involving "heart and hands", not a matter of "money, power, insurance reimbursements and numbers"). A DEM may work in birthing centers or assisting women with home births. A DEM works as an independent practitioner of midwifery with or without the medical backup or direction of a health care provider.


Training and guidance a parent or caregiver gives to a child to teach right from wrong and develop self-control.

Displaced Child Syndrome

When an older child feels irritable, jealous, or rejected after the birth of a sibling.


Comes from the Greek word meaning "servant." Most are certified childbirth assistants. Main duty is to mother or the future mother, which can include coaching a woman during labor or helping a new mom with breastfeeding, cooking, cleaning, or childcare for other children.

Due Date

The date on which a baby's birth is expected, calculated by taking the first day of the woman's last menstrual cycle and adding 9 months and 7 days. The total is 280 days.


Difficult labor or when labor fails to progress.

MoonDragon's Vocabulary Index Page

MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information Index
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips


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