Sometimes it can seem as though Doctors and Midwives have a language all of their own, and will often use abbreviations and terms during your care that might need some translation!
Here is a collection of some of the more common ones and what they mean:
Abdo – abdomen
ANC – Antenatal Clinic
APH – Antepartum Haemorrhage. Used to describe any bleeding from your vagina that occurs before labour starts.
ARM – Artificial Rupture of Membranes. When a Midwife or Obstetrician breaks your waters using an instrument called an amnihook. This is a procedure that may be suggested as part of your care if your labour is being induced, or if augmentation (speeding up), of your labour is recommended.
Bishops Score – A calculation to give an indication of how ready your body is to go into labour. Often used prior to induction of labour to determine what methods are most appropriate to start the induction process. See more in our article here.
BMI – Body Mass Index, a calculation of the relationship between your height and weight and can give an indication of whether or not you are over / under weight.
BD – medication to be given twice daily
BO – Bowels Opened (BNO – Bowels not opened)
BP – Blood Pressure
Ceph – Cephalic, meaning head. Often seen in your notes when describing the position of your baby within the womb.
CPD – Cephalopelvic disproportion. A term used to describe a suspected mismatch between the size of the baby’s head and the pelvis which means that the baby cannot fit through the pelvis easily for birth.
CTG – Cardiotocograph, or electronic fetal monitoring of the baby’s heart. A printout of the baby’s heartrate pattern is obtained, and also any tightenings that your womb is having can also be recorded. A Midwife or obstetrician can then interpret the printout to get more of an idea of how well your baby is at that time.
Cx – Cervix.
DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis, a blood clot forming in the deep veins of the legs.
EBL – Estimated blood loss
EDD – Estimated Date of Delivery, your baby’s “due date” calculated from your last menstrual period or from and ultrasound scan.
Eng – Engaged, refers to how well down in your pelvis the presenting part of the baby is. This is measured by feeling just above your abdomen to gauge how much of the baby can be felt. 2/5ths palp means 2/5th baby is engaged in the pelvis. The presenting part may also be described as “free”, “ballotable” or at the brim. These all essentially mean that the baby is not engaged, but that it is in the “right” area just above the pelvis.
Epis – episiotomy. Surgical cut to the perineum (skin between the vaginal opening and anus) to enlarge the opening and aid birth of the baby. More common in instrumental births (whereby a doctor uses a ventouse or forceps).
EPU – Early Pregnancy Unit, where problems in early pregnancy can be assessed and monitored by a nurse, midwife or doctor.
FBC – full blood count
FH – Fetal Heart. FHH is Fetal heart heard, FHHR is fetal heart heard and regular.
FMF – Fetal Movements Felt
Fundus – the top of your womb.
GA – General Anaesthetic
Gravida – Number of previous pregnancies
GTT – Glucose Tolerance Test. This is a blood test which is sometimes recommended to women who are at higher risk of developing diabetes of pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
Hb – Haemoglobin, a measure of iron levels in your blood which, together with other blood parameters, can give an indication of whether or not you are anaemic.
IM – Intramuscular, describing an injection which should be given into muscle.
IUGR – Intrauterine Growth Restriction. A term used when a baby appears to be smaller than expected on ultrasound scan.
IV – Intravenous, describing a medication, or extra fluids, given via a vein in your hand or arm.
Liquor – amniotic fluid / the waters surrounding the baby in utero.
Lochia – blood loss following childbirth
LMP – Last menstrual period
Mec – meconium. Baby poo. Sometimes babies can pass meconium before they are born and this can be seen as a green discoloration in the amniotic fluid.
Micturition – urination
MOH – Massive Obstetric Haemmorhage. A large volume of blood lost during childbirth and an obstetric emergency.
MROP – Manual Removal of Placenta. Sometimes the placenta (afterbirth) doesn’t come away after the baby is born, and an obstetrician may need to remove the placenta manually in theatre, either under a general anaesthetic or, more often, under a local block (spinal anaesthetic or epidural).
Mw – Midwife
NAD – nothing abnormal detected
Neonatologist – specialist dr for newborn babies.
NICU – Neonatal Intensive Care
NVD – normal vaginal delivery
OD – medication to be given once daily
Paed – Paediatrician, specialist dr for babies and children.
Para – Number of babies from previous pregnancies born after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
PE – Pulmonary Embolism, a blood clot in the pulmonary vein.
Pmec – passed meconium (HNPmec – has not passed meconium)
PN – Postnatal
PO – per oral, medication to be given orally.
PPH – Post Partum Haemorrhage, excessive bleeding that occurs after childbirth, either immediately, or within 28 days of giving birth.
Pyrexia – high temperature
PR – per rectum, from the anus, or to describe a medication given rectally.
Prem – Premature, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
PROM – Prelabour Rupture of Membranes.
PPROM – Premature Prelabour Rupture of Membranes
PU – Passed urine (HNPU – has not passed urine)
PV – per vaginum, from the vagina, or to describe a medication given vaginally.
ROM – Rupture of Membranes
QDS – Medication to be given four times daily.
SROM – Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes
SFD – small for dates, a term used to during pregnancy to describe a baby which feels or measures small on examination of your abdomen.
SFH – Symphysis Fundal Height. A measurement for your pubic bone to the top of your uterus, using a tape measure. This can give an indication of how your baby is growing.
SVB – spontaneous vaginal birth.
TDS – medication to be given three times daily
TTA / TTO – to take away, to take ‘ome! Medication prescribed and then given to you to take home with you following discharge from hospital.
USS – Ultrasound Scan
UTI – Urinary Tract Infection
VE – Vaginal Examination, an internal examination by a doctor or Midwife.
By Lorraine Berry, GentleParenting’s Pregnancy and Birth Specialist.