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Glossary

AFP / HCG (Alpha-feto-protein / human chorionic gonadotropin) - An antenatal screening tool.

Ante-natal - Before birth.  Sometimes the term pre-natal is also used.

Birthing pool – A pool in which a woman can labour and give birth.  The water can support the woman’s weight and aid relaxation and movement.  This helps the woman create the most natural positions for childbirth.  Many find it more comfortable than either the ‘traditional’ bed or standing up.  The partner may choose to support the mother in the pool.

Birthing suite – The room in which the woman gives birth – this is specifically equipped to allow midwives support the mother through the birthing process and differs from standard examination rooms.  The Community Maternity Unit has a birthing suite that is equipped with a birthing pool and partners/family can join the woman in the suite.

Estimated Due Date (EDD) - An estimation of when your baby will arrive.  Only 2-5% of babies are actually born on their EDD.

Equanox (also known as Entonox) - A mixture of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide delivered to the mother through a breathing mask. The 50:50 mix (using oxygen as a carrying gas) imparts the benefits of oxygen and the pain relief of the nitrous oxide without producing unconsciousness.  It is also called Gas and Air.

Gestation – The period beginning from the first day of the lat menstrual period until the birth of the baby.  This can last up to 42 weeks.

Labour – The three-stage process of birth.

Midwives – Specialists responsible for providing ante-natal care and care through labour, childbirth and after the baby is born.

Obstetricians – Doctors specialising in complicated pregnancies, childbirth and post-natal care.

Pethidine – An opiate given by inter-muscular injection.

Post-Natal – The period until an infant is 28 days old.

TENS – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.  Small electric currents are passed into the spinal cord and nerves through electrodes applied to the skin from a small, portable machine.  The sensations caused by this help relieve pain.