Pregnancy Glossary


caffeine (ka-FEEN) — A drug that is found in things like coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and some medicines. During pregnancy, limit the caffeine you get each day to 200 milligrams. That’s about the amount in one 12-ounce cup of coffee.

catheter (KATH-uh-tur) — A tube used to drain urine from your bladder.

cerclage (sir-KLAHJ) — A stitch that your doctor puts in your cervix to help keep it closed so that the baby is not born too early.

certified nurse-midwife (SUR-ti-fyed nurs-MID-wyf) — Also called CNM. A health care provider. A CNM is a nurse who has special education and training to take care of pregnant women and deliver babies.

cervix (SUR-viks) — The opening to the uterus that sits at the top of the vagina.

cesarean birth (suh-SAIR-ee-uhn burth) — Also called c-section. Surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus.

CF (see-EF) — See cystic fibrosis.

childbirth classes (CHILD-burth KLAS-is) — Classes for you and your partner to learn about what happens during the birth of a baby.

chloasma (kloh-AZ-muh) — Also called mask of pregnancy or melasma. When the skin around a woman’s eyes, nose or cheeks turns brown or gets darker during pregnancy. It usually goes away after pregnancy.

chorionic villus sampling (KOR-ee-ah-nik VIL-us SAM-pleeng) — Also called CVS. A test of tissue from the placenta that checks for birth defects and genetic problems, like Down syndrome. You can get CVS at 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

chronic health condition (KRAHN-ik helth kuhn-DI-shuhn) — A health condition that lasts for a long time or that happens again and again over a long period of time. Examples are diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression. Chronic health conditions need treatment from a health care provider.

circumcision (sur-kuhm-SI-zhuhn) — Removing the foreskin from the penis.

clomid (KLOH-mid) — See clomiphene citrate.

clomiphene (KLOH-muh-feen) — See clomiphene citrate.

clomiphene citrate (KLOH-muh-feen SYE-trayt) — Also called clomiphene. A medicine you take to help you ovulate and make healthier eggs.

CMV (see-em-VEE) — See cytomegalovirus.

CNM (see-en-EM) — See certified nurse-midwife

colostrum (kuh-LAH-struhm) — Clear, sticky liquid that comes out of your breasts right after you give birth before your breastmilk comes in. It feeds your baby and helps protect him from infection. Your body starts making it during the last few months of pregnancy.

conception (kuhn-SEP-shuhn) — Also called fertilization. When a man’s sperm gets inside of a woman’s egg. This is how a woman gets pregnant.

constipation (kahn-sti-PAY-shuhn) — When it’s hard to have a bowel movement.

contraception (kahn-truh-SEP-shuhn) — See birth control.

contraction (kuhn-TRAK-shuhn) — When the muscles of your uterus get tight and then relax. Contractions help push your baby out of your uterus.

cord blood (kord bluhd) — Also called umbilical cord blood. The blood in the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born and the cord is cut.

crib death (krib deth) — See sudden infant death syndrome.

c-section (SEE-sek-shuhn) — See cesarean birth.

CVS (see-vee-ESS) — See chorionic villus sampling.

cystic fibrosis(SIS-tik fye-BROH-siss) — Also called CF. A disease that parents can pass on to their children. It affects breathing and digestion.

cytomegalovirus (sye-toh-MEG-uh-loh-vye-ruhs) — Also called CMV. CMV is a common infection in young children. Most of the time it does not cause problems. But if a pregnant woman gets infected, she can pass it to her baby. If this happens, the baby could get very sick, have lifelong problems or even die.