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Glossary of Medical Terminology abdominal pregnancy a pregnancy in which the embryo or fetus grows, not in the uterus, but in the abdomen. abnormal pre­sen­ta­tion See pre­sen­ta­tion. accouchear from the French term meaning “to be delivered of a child” or “to take to the birthing bed,” used to describe a birth attendant. accrete to adhere or become attached to. See also placenta accreta. acidosis accumulation of hydrogen in the blood and body tissues, resulting in a decrease in pH. See also pH. ACOG See American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. active ­labor the segment of first-­ stage ­ labor when contractions intensify and the cervix dilates more rapidly. See also first-­ stage ­ labor; latent phase of ­ labor; transition. adhesion See surgical adhesion. air embolism the sudden blocking of a blood vessel by an air ­ bubble, usually caused by a surgical procedure or trauma. albuminuria presence in the urine of an excess of serum proteins, a pos­ si­ ble sign of kidney disease or preeclampsia. See also preeclampsia. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the premiere professional organ­ ization for obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States. The­ organ­ ization recently changed its name to American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Only physicians who limit their practice to ­ women are permitted to be members. amniocentesis a transabdominal puncture of the uterus to obtain amniotic fluid for prenatal diagnosis. amnionitis inflammation of the membrane surrounding the fetus and the amniotic fluid. See also amniotic fluid; amniotic sac. amniotic fluid the protective liquid contained in the amniotic sac. See also amniotic sac. amniotic fluid embolism the sudden entrance of amniotic fluid or fetal debris into the maternal circulatory system, triggering cardiopulmonary collapse and bleeding. Also known as anaphylactoid syndrome of pregnancy. 258   Glossary of Medical Terminology amniotic sac the bag of fluid inside the uterus in which the fetus develops and grows, also known as the bag of ­ waters or membranes. See also amniotic fluid. amniotomy rupture of the amniotic sac by artificial means. ankyloses immobility of a joint due to disease. aorta the main artery of the body from which the body’s entire arterial system proceeds, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the heart. Apgar score the scoring system devised by anesthesiologist ­ Virginia Apgar to ascertain the well-­ being of a neonate at one minute and five minutes ­ after birth. artificial rupture of membranes See amniotomy and ruptured membranes. asphyxia pathological changes in the body caused by lack of oxygen. aspiration inhalation or removal by suction of excess body fluid. atelectasis incomplete expansion of the lungs, a common condition in premature infants. atresia See vaginal atresia. augmentation See ­ labor augmentation. auscultation listening to the internal sounds made by the body, usually with a stethoscope, from the Latin verb “to listen.” During childbirth, auscultation most often refers to listening to the fetal heartbeat with a fetal stethoscope. bag of ­ waters See amniotic sac. bilious attack an array of symptoms that include nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache, and constipation, originally attributed to excessive secretion of bile. bipolar version See version. Bishop score the scoring system devised by obstetrician Edward Bishop in 1964 to ascertain a pregnant ­ woman’s readiness for childbirth. The Bishop score assigns points to five cervical characteristics: station, dilatation, effacement, position, and consistency. See also consistency; dilatation; effacement; position; station. blue baby a baby with a blue tinge to the skin due to lack of oxygen in the blood­ because of a congenital defect, usually of the heart. bougie in obstetrics, an object placed through the cervix to induce contractions. bradycardia a slow heartbeat. breech a fetus is in a breech position when the presenting part during birth is a foot or the buttocks rather than the head. See also cephalic; footling breech; frank breech; pre­sen­ta­tion; presenting part. calcareous containing calcium. caliper compass with curved legs, designed for mea­ sur­ ing the thickness and dia­ meter of a solid object. caput the swelling of a baby’s scalp ­ after delivery due to a difficult birth. Glossary of Medical Terminology   259 carbolic acid common name for phenol, a volatile, white, crystalline solid. carcinoma a type of cancer that originates in the skin or tissues that line or cover organs. catecholamines a class of drugs; drugs in the catecholamine class include norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. catgut a surgical suture naturally degraded by the body’s enzymes. catheter a hollow tube used to withdraw fluid from, or insert fluid into, a body cavity. See...


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