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MoonDragon's Midwives Vocabulary
MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY - L



Lamaze

Method of emotional and physical preparation to reduce pain in childbirth. Lamaze is the most common method taught in hospitals to prepare parents for hospital-medically oriented birthing procedures. This is not the method most common for parents planning an out-of-hospital (OOH) birth.

Landau's Reflex

When laid face down, a 3- to 12-month-old will arch his back and raise his head.

Labor

The process of childbirth, from dilation of the cervix to the delivery of the baby and the placenta.

Labor/Delivery/Recovery Room
(LDR)

Where a woman goes through labor, delivers her baby, and remains during her hospital or birthing center stay. Depending on the facility, it may resemble a hotel room. In a home birth setting, this is usually the woman's bedroom surrounded by her partner, family and friends.

Lactation

Production of breast milk.

Lactation Specialists

Individuals trained in the assistance of breastfeeding. Many are RNs or have a special certificate to aid new mothers. Others may be midwives, doulas or experienced breastfeeding-support women assisting women with the art of breastfeeding.

Lactose Intolerance

A digestive disorder when the body is unable to break down milk sugar.

Lanugo

Downy-like, fine hair on a fetus from 26 weeks on.

Laparoscopy

A surgical procedure that inserts a flexible tube through an incision in the abdomen to view internal organs. Frequently used to determine infertility.

Lay Midwife

Another term often used for a Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM). A midwife with hands-on experience, but may or may not have any professional medical education. This practice may be legal or illegal depending on the state of practice. Most lay or DEM midwives assist with home-births and some may practice in birthing centers.

Lead Poisoning

When lead is ingested in the body and damages organs.

Leg Cramps

When the calf cramps up in the second and third trimesters. The exact cause is unknown but may be related to insufficient calcium in the diet.

Leukemia

A type of cancer of the blood where the white blood cells take over in the bone marrow. Generally diagnosed in children 1-14 years and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in children.

Lice

Tiny parasitic insects that feed on blood and are highly contagious through direct contact. Head lice are the most common.

Lightening

When a fetus positions itself lower in the pelvis during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Linea Nigra

A dark line that may develop during pregnancy, running from below the breasts, over the uterus and the navel. Often fades after delivery but doesn't disappear entirely.

Liver & Liver Problems

The organ responsible for producing key proteins and other chemicals which regulate the chemistry of the blood. Potential liver problems range from hepatitis to jaundice.

Lochia

Vaginal discharge--after delivery of mucus, blood, and tissue--that continues for up to 6 weeks after delivery.

Lordosis

Severe curvature of the lower spine.

Low Birth Weight
(LBW)

When a full-term infant weighs less than about 5 1/2 pounds at birth.

Lumbar Puncture
(Spinal Tap)

A procedure to draw spinal fluid from the spinal column to check for infections, tumors, and diseases such as meningitis.

Lupus

An autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks the connective tissue in the body.

Luteinizing Hormone
(LH)

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates other hormones of the reproductive system.



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