Definition of terms

Aetiology The cause, set of causes, or manner of causation, of a disease or condition.
Antenatal The period covering conception up to the time of birth.
Antepartum Prior to labour.
Apgar Score Numerical score used to indicate a baby’s condition at 1 minute and at 5 minutes after birth, in relation to each of 5 characteristics: breathing, colour, heart rate, muscle tone and reflex irritability.
Apnea Cessation of breathing.
Autopsy An examination performed after the baby's death to determine the cause of death. A full autopsy involves a surgical cut or incision and x-ray. The placenta is also examined. A limited autopsy is subject to parental decision and may or may not include examination of the placenta.
Clinician A physician involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, or who is skilled in clinical methods, as opposed to one who specialises in research.
Cultural safety The essential components of cultural safety include:
External examination Involves x-ray and external examination of baby's body and placenta, but no examination of internal organs.
Fetal death The death of a baby prior to birth (alternatively, stillbirth).
Gestation The time between conception and birth during which the embryo or fetus is developing in the uterus.
Gestational age Duration of a pregnancy in number of completed weeks.
Gravidity The number of times that a woman has been pregnant.
Health practitioner Someone qualified in the practice of a particular field of the health profession.
Hypertension High blood pressure.
Hypoxic A condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.
Intrapartum Occurring during childbirth or during the birth process.
Neonatal Pertaining to a newborn child.
Parity The number of previous pregnancies experienced by a woman that have resulted in a live birth or a stillbirth.
Perinatal Pertaining to, or occurring in, the period shortly before or after birth (usually up to 28 days after).
Placenta A temporary organ that develops during pregnancy to nourish and maintain the fetus through the umbilical cord.
Postpartum The period following labour and birth.
Stillbirth Death before the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception of 20 or more completed weeks of gestation or of 400 grams or more birthweight.
Term birth Birth after 37 and before 42 completed weeks of gestation.
Vasa praevia A rare but potentially serious condition in which blood vessels carrying blood between the placenta and the baby cross over the cervix. These vessels may bleed if the woman goes into labour, if the waters break, or if the cervix opens.

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