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MoonDragon's Midwives Vocabulary
MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY - P



Pap Smear

A test where cells are swabbed from the cervix to determine any abnormalities. Should be done annually.

Pitocin

Synthetic oxytocin used to induce labor.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act
(PDA)

A U.S. law barring discrimination against a woman for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Peak Day

The last day your cervical mucus has the consistency of egg white; usually coincides with the beginning of a temperature spike.

Pediatrician

Physician who specializes in treating infants and children through adolescence.

Pelvic Floor Muscles

The group of muscles at the base of the pelvis that helps support the bladder, uterus, urethra, vagina, and rectum. Can be strengthened by doing Kegel exercises, which can aid delivery.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
(PID)

An infection that can affect the uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other parts of the reproductive system. Can be treated effectively with antibiotics; if left untreated, can lead to infertility.

Percutaneousa Umbilical Cord Sampling
(PUBS)

A new genetic screening procedure that draws blood from the fetus' umbilical cord to test for abnormalities and conditions.

Perinatal

Before, during, and immediately after birth.

Perinatal Asphxia

Severe lack of oxygen which affects a baby just before, during, and after birth.

Perinatal Care

Care of an infant from immediately after birth through the first month of life.

Perinatologist

Physician who specializes in women with high-risk pregnancies.

Persistent Fetal Circulation
(PFC)

A condition in which a newborn has difficulty making the transition from living in the womb to the outside world. May produce respiratory problems.

Phenylketonuria
(PKU)

A genetic disorder in which a liver enzyme is defective, possibly leading to serious retardation. Determined through a blood test done at birth. May be controlled by a special diet.

Phototherapy

Treatment using fluorescent light on a newborn to aid jaundice.

Placenta

An organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy, providing nutrients for the fetus and eliminating its waste products. Commonly referred to as the afterbirth because it's delivered after the baby in a vaginal birth.

Placenta Previa

A pregnancy-related condition when the placenta is abnormally low in the uterus, possibly covering the cervix, necessitating a cesarean section.

Plantar Reflex

A normal reflex curling of the toes, especially in children over one year of age, resulting from stroking the sole of the foot. Newborns will flex the big toe and spread the other toes.

Play Group

A group of babies or toddlers that parents gather together to develop social skills and reduce stranger and separation anxieties. Activities may range from free play to organized games and songs.

Polio

A severe viral disease characterized by headache, fever, sore throat, and stiffness. Can lead to paralysis. The disease is rare due to the polio vaccine.

Polio Vaccine

There are 2 types of polio vaccines: IPV, which stands for inactivated polio vaccine and is given as an injection, and OPV, which stands for Oral Polio Vaccine, given in drops in a child's mouth. Medical standards state a child needs 4 doses of either vaccine at 2, 4, 12-18 months.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Condition often associated with infertility. A malfunction in a woman's body chemistry prevents her eggs from getting the right growth signal from her brain, causing her eggs to remain in their follicles and die instead of maturing and being released into her Fallopian tubes. As the eggs die, their follicles fill with fluid, swell, and turn into cysts; enough cysts can cause the ovaries to enlarge, sometimes to the size of a grapefruit.

Postmature

Refers to an infant born at 42 weeks or more. Can be a problem because the placenta is not as effective, baby may be larger and less moldable. Labor is usually induced to avoid complications.

Postnatal Care
(Postpartum Care)

Medical care for both newborn and mother during the first 6 weeks after birth.

Postpartum Depression

More serious than the baby blues. Characterized by sadness, impatience, restlessness, and inability to care for the baby after 2 weeks postpartum. Call your doctor if signs do not appear to abate.

Preeclampsia

A condition a mother may develop late in pregnancy, marked by sudden edema, high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

Pregnancy Test

A blood or urine test to determine whether or not a woman is pregnant

Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

A pregnancy-related condition where a woman's blood pressure is temporarily elevated. Usually occurs during the last trimester.

Premature Baby

Born before 37 weeks of gestation.

Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PROM)

Rupture of the amniotic sac before 37 weeks.

Prenatal Care

Medical care for a pregnant woman and her fetus for the duration of the pregnancy.

Prenatal Tests

Medical tests conducted during pregnancy to determine any genetic disorders or the well-being of the woman.

Preterm Labor

Labor that begins before 37 weeks.

Primary Healthcare Provider

Healthcare professional who is responsible for an individual's overall health. Suggests and authorizes referrals to specialists or clinics for special needs.

Primary Teeth
(Baby Teeth)

A child's first set of teeth. A child should have 20 by age 3.

Primigravida

Latin term for a woman pregnant for the first time.

Primitive Reflexes

A newborn's involuntary, automatic reflexes that disappear in the first few weeks.

Progesterone

A female hormone that is produced in the ovaries and works with estrogen to regulate the reproductive cycle.

Prolapsed Cord

When the umbilical cord comes through the cervix before the baby does. Can be dangerous because the contractions may cut off blood and oxygen flow.

Prolonged Labor

When long, difficult labor does not progress to a vaginal birth after 18-24 hours.

Pudendal Block

A procedure to anesthetize the area around the vulva.

Puerperium

Postpartum recovery period.



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