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MoonDragon's Midwives Vocabulary
MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY - M



Mongolian Spot

A large birth mark that looks light blue, usually on the lower body. Disappears or becomes less noticeable as baby grows. More common in Asian and African American babies.

Moro Reflex

When sudden, loud noises startle a newborn, causing him to extend his arms, legs, and feet, arch his back and his head back.

Magnesium Sulfate

Medication used to arrest preterm labor.

Marasmus

Extreme case of malnutrition.

Mastitis

Painful infection of the breast usually caused by the entry of germs, often from the baby's mouth, into a milk duct through a crack or fissure in the nipple. Symptoms include fever, soreness, and swelling. Occurs in about 1 in 20 nursing mothers anytime during lactation, most commonly between the 10th-28th days postpartum.

Maternal & Child Health Services
(MCH)

Programs and facilities that concentrate on social and medical care for mothers and children, especially pre- and postnatal care, infant care, and birth control.

Maternal & Fetal Specialists

OB/GYNs who specialize in the care of both mother and fetus in high-risk pregnancies.

Maternal Deprivation Syndrome

A condition in a baby who has been physically and emotionally deprived. Symptoms include failure to thrive and slow growth and development. Occurs in cases of severe postpartum depression or other cases when a parent may be unavailable.

Maternal Mortality

The death of a mother immediately related to a pregnancy, either from the birth, miscarriage, or abortion.

Maternity Center

An alternative to a birth center or hospital where a woman can go through labor and delivery for a low-risk birth.

Maternity Cycle

The period of time from conception through the first 6 weeks of birth.

Maternity Leave

Paid or unpaid time off work after a mother has given birth or adopted a child. In the U.S. under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child; to care for a sick family member; or for the serious illness of the employee.

Measles
(Rubeola)

A serious, infectious virus characterized by fever, small red spots, and cold-like symptoms. Can be prevented by use of MMR vaccine. See MMR.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine (MMR)

Used to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella. Given to children between 12 to 18 months, and then again between 4 to 6 years.

Meconium

The dark, sticky substance released from a newborn's intestines into his first bowel movements. If visible in amniotic fluid prior to delivery, it can be a sign that the fetus is in distress.

Medical Tests

Procedures which enable medical experts to assess conditions in a patient. Range from non-invasive -- listening to a heartbeat -- to invasive, such as injections or a spinal tap.

Membranes

See Bag of Waters.

Meningitis

A serious infection and inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. May be caused by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include high fevers, low energy, a stiff neck, and possible rash.

Menstrual Cycle
(Reproductive Cycle)

The regular growth and expulsion of the lining of the uterus or endometrium, if there is no fertilized egg implanted.

Mental Disorders

Dangerous, aggressive behavior towards others, including non-communicative, withdrawal, depression, autistic, and psychotic tendencies.

Mental Retardation

Characterized by slower than normal or limited intellectual and emotional development.

Metabolic Disorders

Genetic disorders affecting the way food is digested.

Metatarsus Valgus

Commonly known as a "duck walk." Generally corrects itself.

Metatarsus Varus

Commonly known as "pigeon toed." Generally corrects itself but may need surgery in severe cases.

Microcephaly

A small skull with small cranial capacity. Usually indicates mental retardation.

Micromelia

A birth defect in which arms or legs are abnormally short.

Microsurgery

Precise, delicate surgery performed to unblock Fallopian tubes or to reverse a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

Midwife

Midwives provide care to women during the prenatal period, labor, birth, and postpartum, in addition to well-women gynecological care and family planning services. The word literally means "with woman," and midwives are advocates for women's health who are committed to providing family-centered care.

A Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM) is a non-nurse professional who has entered midwifery through a variety of routes, including, but not limited to, educational programs offered through accredited or non-accredited programs, apprenticeship, midwifery study courses, training workshops, and on-the-job experience. The DEM may or may not be certified or licensed (CM, CPM, LM), depending upon the state legality and personal preference of the individual practicing midwife. The DEM assists women primarily in free-standing (non-hospital associated) birthing centers and home-births. DEMs are independent practitioners that may or may not have a working relationship with a physician.

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or a certified midwife (CM) is a professional who has completed an educational program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and passed a national certification examination that is administered by the ACNM Certification Council. The CNM or CM assists women primarily in hospitals or birth centers (hospital affiliated or free-standing). A few attend home-births. CNMs must work under the regulations of the nursing board and the direction of a physician to practice. This limits many CNMs from attending out-of-hospital (OOH) births, such as home-births and free-standing birth centers.

Milia
(Baby Acne)

Tiny, harmless white spots or pimples on a newborn. Usually go away by themselves.

Minerals

Essential elements in a diet needed to maintain health and well being, including calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.

Miscarriage
(Spontaneous Abortion)

The involuntary expulsion of a fetus before the 20th week.

Mononucleosis
(Infectious Mononucleosis or "Mono")

A viral illness characterized by severe fatigue, swollen glands, sore throat, and fever.

Morning After Pill

A pill (or pills) taken hours after a woman has unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy.

Morning Sickness

Food and smell aversions, nausea and occasional vomiting that accompany many pregnancies in first trimester. For many affected women, the discomfort lasts all day.

Motor Skills

Motions carried out by the combination of the brain, nervous system, and muscles.

Mucus Plug

A plug of mucus that blocks the cervix during pregnancy. Often released with the onset of labor.

Multiple Birth

More than 1 baby delivered.

Multiple Gestation

More than 1 fetus in the womb.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A neurological disease, chiefly of young adults, marked by speech disturbances, lack of muscular coordination, weakness, and numbness, caused by damaged patches in the brain and spinal cord. Varies in severity. No cure is available and cause is unknown.

Mumps

A viral disease characterized by fever, headache, and inflammation of the salivary glands. May lead to complications such as meningitis. MMR vaccine is recommended.

Muscular Dystrophy

A disease of unknown origin that leads to progressive muscular deterioration and wasting, usually in childhood.



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