Glossary

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  • a

  • Adenovirus
    Any of a group of DNA-containing viruses that cause conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract infections in humans.
  • Adrenaline
    A hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla that is released into the bloodstream in response to physical or mental stress. Can lead to increased blood pressure and heart action.
  • Albumin
    A class of water-soluble proteins that can be coagulated by heat and are found in egg white, blood serum, milk, and other animal and plant tissues.
  • Allele
    One member of a pair or series of genes that occupy a specific position on a specific chromosome.
  • Alpha-fetoprotein
    A protein produced in the liver of a fetus that can appear in certain diseases of adults. Its level in a pregnant woman's blood can be used in the detection of certain fetal abnormalities.
  • Amniocentesis
    A procedure in which a sample of amniotic fluid is drawn out of the uterus through a needle inserted in the abdomen, used to detect genetic abnormalities or the baby's sex.
  • Amnion
    A thin, tough, membranous sac that encloses the embryo or fetus of a mammal, bird, or reptile. It is filled with a serous fluid in which the embryo is suspended.
  • Amniotic
    Of or related to the amnion or characterized by developing an amnion; "amniotic membrane"
  • Anemia
    A pathological deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood, measured in unit volume concentrations of hemoglobin, red blood cell volume, or red blood cell number.
  • Anencephaly
    Congenital absence of most of the brain.
  • Angiography
    Examination of the blood vessels using x-rays following the injection of a radiopaque substance.
  • Antibody
    Are proteins, which are secreted into the blood or lymph in response to an antigenic stimulus, such as a virus or transplanted organ, and which neutralize the antigen.
  • Antigen
    A substance that when introduced into the body stimulates the production of an antibody. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells, and the cells of transplanted organs.
  • Ascites
    An abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in the abdominal cavity.
  • Asphyxia
    A condition in which an extreme decrease in the amount of oxygen in the body accompanied by an increase of carbon dioxide leads to loss of consciousness or death.
  • b

  • Biophysical Profile
    An ultrasound test which evaluates fetal behavior (breathing, tone, movement) and amniotic fluid volume.
  • c

  • Candidiasis (Yeast infection)
    Candidiasis is a generic term for any infection caused by any of a genus (Candida) of parasitic imperfect fungi that resemble yeasts and occur especially in the mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract and that is usually benign but can become pathogenic; Candida albicans is the most common causing(...)
  • Cardiac
    Of, near, or relating to the heart.
  • Cardiolipin
    Used in serologic diagnosis of syphilis.
  • Celoschisis
    A congenital fissure in the abdominal wall usually accompanied by protrusion of the viscera.
  • Cerclage
    The placement of a nonabsorbable suture around a functionally incompetent uterine cervix.
  • Cervix
    The lower part of the uterus extending from the isthmus of the uterus into the vagina.
  • Chromosomal
    Of or relating to a chromosome;"chromosomal defect"
  • Chromosome
    A threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of cells that carries the genes of hereditary information.
  • Chronic
    Lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence, as certain diseases.
  • Congenital
    Of or relating to a condition that is present at birth, as a result of either hereditary or environmental influences.
  • Conjunctiva
    The mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and the exposed surface of the eyeball.
  • Conjunctivitis
    Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness around the eyes and often accompanied by a discharge.
  • Cyst
    An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.
  • d

  • Diabetes
    A medical condition where the body is unable to metabolize glucose and as a result experiences a rise in blood sugar levels.
  • Doppler
    Often used as a non-invasive method of measuring blood flow in humans.
  • Ductus venosus
    A vein passing through the liver and connecting the left umbilical vein with the inferior vena cava of the fetus.
  • e

  • Echocardiograph
    An noninvasive instrument painlessly employs the differential transmission and reflection of ultrasonic waves to image structural and functional abnormalities of the heart.
  • Echocardiography
    The use of ultrasound in the diagnosis of cardiovascular lesions and in recording the size, motion, and composition of various cardiac structures.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
    Development of the embryo outside the uterus, as in the fallopian tube.
  • Edema
    An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity.
  • g

  • Gastroschisis
    A congenital fissure in the abdominal wall usually accompanied by protrusion of the viscera.
  • Gestational
    The period of development in the uterus from conception until birth; pregnancy.
  • Goiter
    Abnormally enlarged thyroid gland; can result from under or over-production of hormone or from a dietary iodine deficiency.
  • Gynecology
    The diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive organs.
  • h

  • Habitual Abortion
    Two or more consecutive spontaneous abortions that occur before 24 weeks gestation.
  • HELLP syndrome
    HELLP is an acronym for “Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets”. HELLP syndrome is frequently confused with severe preeclampsia complicated by low platelets proteinuria and hypertension. True HELLP syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation and it is not associated with severe(...)
  • Hypertension
    This is a cardiovascular disease in which chronic high blood pressure is the primary symptom.
  • Hyperthyroidism
    Pathologically excessive production of thyroid hormones.
  • Hypotension
    A condition resulting in abnormally low blood pressure.
  • i

  • Indomethacin
    Indomethacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that has been used to stop preterm labor for more than 20 years now. It is the only medication that can stop preterm labor and requires a skilled perinatologist to administer because it can affect the baby’s heart if not used properly.
  • Infertility
    failure to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse
  • Intrauterine
    Occurring or situated within the uterus.
  • Isthmus
    A constriction or narrow passage connecting two larger parts of an organ or other anatomical structure.
  • IUGR
    This stands for intrauterine growth restriction, which is defined as deficient fetal growth usually caused by placental failure.
  • l

  • Lymph
    A fluid containing white blood cells, which acts to remove bacteria and certain proteins from the tissues, transport fat from the small intestine, and supply mature lymphocytes to the blood.
  • m

  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine
    The subspecialty of obstetrics concerned with the care of high-risk mothers and fetuses during the perinatal period.
  • Meconium
    A dark green fecal material that accumulates in the fetal intestines and is discharged at or near the time of birth.
  • Modality
    A diagnostic method, such as ultrasound, Doppler, or X-ray that is used to visualize the human body and diagnose various diseases.
  • n

  • Neonate
    A newborn infant, especially one less than four weeks old.
  • Nuchal
    Anything, which relates to the back of the neck.
  • o

  • Obstetrics
    The branch of medicine concerning conception, pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Omphalocele
    Congenital herniation of viscera into the base of the umbilical cord.
  • Ovary
    One of the paired female reproductive organs that produce ova and certain sex hormones, including estrogen.
  • p

  • Parasite
    An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
  • Pathological
    Relating to or caused by disease.
  • Pathology
    The scientific study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences.
  • Perinatal
    Of, relating to, or being the period around childbirth, especially the five months before and one month after birth.
  • Peritoneum
    The serous membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity and folds inward to enclose the viscera.
  • Phospholipid
    Any of various phosphorus-containing lipids, such as lecithin and cephalin, that are composed mainly of fatty acids, a phosphate group, and a simple organic molecule.
  • Physiological
    Being in accord with or characteristic of the normal functioning of a living organism.
  • Physiology
    The biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts.
  • Placenta
    A membranous vascular organ that develops in female mammals during pregnancy, lining the uterine wall and partially enveloping the fetus.
  • Polycystic
    Having or containing many cysts: polycystic ovarian disease.
  • Polymorphism
    The occurrence of different forms, stages, or types in individual organisms or in organisms of the same species as well as different forms of the same gene (gene mutations)
  • Preeclampsia
    A condition of hypertension occurring in pregnancy, typically accompanied by edema and proteinuria.
  • Preterm
    Occurring or appearing before the expected time at the end of a full-term pregnancy.
  • PROM
    Rupture of the amniotic sac with loss of amniotic fluid before 37 completed weeks of gestation and in the absence of labor.
  • Protease
    Any of various enzymes that catalyze the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins.
  • Proteinuria
    The presence of excessive amounts of protein in the urine.
  • Prothrombin
    A glycoprotein present in the blood plasma that is converted to thrombin in the presence of thromboplastin and calcium ion during blood clotting.
  • s

  • Serology
    The science that deals with the properties and reactions of serums, especially blood serum.
  • Serous
    Containing, secreting, or resembling serum.
  • Serum
    Also called blood serum. The clear yellowish fluid obtained upon separating whole blood into its solid and liquid components after it has been allowed to clot.
  • Sonogram
    An image, as of an unborn fetus or an internal body organ, produced by ultrasonography. Also called echogram, sonograph, and ultrasonography.
  • Spasticity
    A spastic state or condition; spastic paralysis.
  • Suture
    The fine thread or other material used surgically to close a wound or join tissues.
  • t

  • Thrombin
    An enzyme in blood formed from prothrombin that facilitates blood clotting.
  • Thrombosis
    Formation or presence of a thrombus; clotting within a blood vessel which may cause infarction of tissues supplied by the vessel.
  • Thyroid
    A two-lobed endocrine gland located in front of and on either side of the trachea and producing various hormones, such as thyroxine.
  • Toxoplasmosis
    a) a congenital disease characterized by lesions of the central nervous system that can cause blindness and brain damage. b) an acquired disease characterized by fever, swollen lymph nodes, and lesions in the liver, heart, lungs, and brain.
  • Trimester
    A period or term of three months.
  • Trisomy
    The condition of having three copies of a given chromosome in each somatic cell rather than the normal number of two.
  • u

  • Uterus
    A hollow muscular organ located in the pelvic cavity of female mammals in which the fertilized egg implants and develops.
  • v

  • Vascular
    of or relating to or having vessels that conduct and circulate fluids, such as blood
  • Villus
    A minute projection arising from a mucous membrane, especially that of the chorion contributing to the formation of the placenta.
  • Viscera
    (1) The soft internal organs of the body, especially those contained within the abdominal and thoracic cavities (2) The intestines
  • w

  • Wharton's jelly
    The mucous connective tissue of the umbilical cord.