Tuesday, 28 September 2010

So what does it all mean?

You get back from your appointment and glance through your notes and there are all these abbreviations that you have no idea what they mean. I'm going to now do my best to explain some of the most commonly used abbreviations or terms but if there is one that you've had that you want to know..just leave me a message and I'll do my best!

ANC - antenatal clinic - may be used to let you know where you next appointment is.
ARM - artificial rupture of membranes which is when they break your waters for you. Generally done to encourage/speed along progress in labour.
BBA - born before arrival. Those babies that don't want to wait for the midwife to arrive or the labour takes Mum completely off guard and end up being born in a car park (mentioning no names here). Anyway it means that no midwife was in attendance for the birth.
BMI - body mass index. Something that most of us don't like but it is your weight in kgs divided by height in metres squared. A healthy BMI is 20-25.
BP - blood pressure. We all know it's recorded but do you know what it actually tells us? The top figure, the larger number is the systolic measurement. This tells us the maximum amount of pressure during contraction of the ventricles. The lower figure is the diastolic measurement and this tells us the pressure in the ventricle at rest.
BPD - seen this on your scan reports? This is the biparietal diameter which is essentially a measurement of your baby's head. The parietal eminences are the two "points" (it may help to feel your own skull lol)  on the top of your head - one on the left and one on the right. The sonographer can use this measurement to estimate within about a week, the gestational age of the baby.
CRL - again seen on scan reports. This is the crown rump length....exactly as it sounds it is the measurement of the baby from the top of the baby's skull down to the bottom of the spine. Also used to asses the gestational age of the baby.
CTG - cardiotocograph. The machine that is used to monitor your baby. Either in the fetal assessment unit or during labour.
ECV - external cephalic version. This is the manoeuvre they use to try and turn a breech or transverse baby into the head down position.
Engagement - this can be very confusing as it depends on the midwife writing it as to which way they mean. Some will write 2/5ths and this will mean that they can feel 2/5ths of the baby's head, meaning the baby is 3/5ths engaged. Others will mean that they can feel 3/5ths and so is 2/5ths engaged. One thing I would say is, 2/5ths or 3/5ths it doesn't really matter. What matters is there is a degree of engagement. The baby's head may well not engage any further anyway if there is some of the waters in front of their head, blocking them from dropping further into the pelvis. 
FHHR - I am sure most of you have worked out that this means the baby's heart has been heard but can you work out exactly what it stands for? It means fetal heart (heard and regular).
FMF - fetal movements felt.
Gravida - either a primigravida or a multigravida. A primigravida is a woman who is pregnant for the first time and a multigravida is a woman who is pregnant for the second or more time.
GBS - group B streptococcus. This is a bacteria found in either the rectum or the vagina of approximately a quarter of all pregnant women. It can cause an infection in the baby, and in rare cases death of a baby so it is commonly treated with antibiotics during labour to reduce those risks.
GTT - glucose tolerance test. The test that checks for gestational diabetes. It is more commonly found in women who have a high BMI and/or a family history of diabetes.
IOL - induction of labour. 
IUGR - intrauterine growth restriction. This basically means that the baby is anticipated to be a small baby...where perhaps the baby has stopped growing, or is growing more slowly which can indicate that the placenta isn't working as well as it should be.
LMA (RMA) - left (right) mentoanterior . This would be in reference to the position your baby is in. So the mento refers to the baby's chin; so in this case the chin is to the left of the pelvis and facing towards the front of the woman's pelvis and the baby is going to be born face first. This would only be detected by a vaginal examination, as externally you cannot feel which position the baby's head is in.
LMP (RMP) - left (right) mentoposterior. As above but the chin is facing to the back of the woman's pelvis. Again would still be a case of the baby being born face first.
LOA (ROA) - left (right) occipitoanterior. This, whether left or right, is the more ideal position for the baby to be in. It means that the occiput, which is the bone on the very back of the baby's skull, is facing towards the front of the woman's pelvis. The baby has tucked it's head right down onto it's body and is therefore presenting the smallest diameter to be born. (Imagine you are putting on a jumper with a tight neck, you wouldn't try and push your face through, you tuck your head down onto your chest)
LOP (ROP)- left (right) occipitoposterior. As above but the baby's occiput
LSP (RSP)- left (right) sacroposterior. This means that the baby is in a breech position and facing to the back of the woman.
MSU - midstream specimen of urine
NAD - nothing abnormal detected....always good to see
NT - nuchal translucency. This is the part of the scan when they are screening for Downs Syndrome and other disorders. They measure the skin at the fold at the back of the neck. This is most commonly used alongside a blood test to give a more accurate risk factor.
PG - prostaglandin. The hormone that is used in induction of labour.
PPH - postpartum haemorrhage. Bleeding to excess following the delivery of the baby.
SFD - small for dates.
SOB - shortness of breath.
SPD - symphisis pubis diastasis.Causes moderate to severe pelvic pain during pregnancy due to the relaxin hormone.
SRM - spontaneous rupture of membranes.
SVD - spontaneous vaginal delivery.
Transverse - the baby instead of being head down or even breech, is instead lying across the abdomen. This can result in a more unusual shaped bump. Fairly obviously if the baby is in this position at term, and any attempts to turn the baby have failed, this would mean a Cesarean section as the baby simply won't fit into the pelvis. This can often happen in women who have an unusual shape to their uterus e.g some women have a heart shaped uterus.
UTI - urinary tract infection.

I have no doubt missed plenty out but please do shout and I will try and clear them up for you!

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