Medical, Surgical, & Viewing Terms and Abbreviations

Medical Careers & Professional Terminology

doula: a trained non–health care professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to parents before, during, and after childbirth

lactation consultant: a health professional who helps new parents and infants with lactation and breastfeeding

midwife: a health professional who cares for mothers and newborns around childbirth

midwifery: the practice of being a midwife

neonatologist: a physician who specializes in newborn infant care

neonatology: the study or medical specialization of newborn care

obstetrician: a physician who specializes in delivering infants

obstetrics: the study or medical specialization of delivering infants

teratologist: a scientist or physician who specializes in abnormal fetal development

teratology: the study or medical specialization of abnormal fetal development

Imaging Techniques/Procedures for the Organ System

amnioscope: the device used to visually examine the amnion

amnioscopy: the process of using an amnioscope to visually examine the amnion

pelvic sonography: visual examination of the pregnancy using ultrasound

Medical, Diagnostic, and Surgical Techniques/Procedures Used for the Organ System

abortion: a miscarriage or elective ending of a pregnancy

alpha-fetoprotein test: a test to measure the amount of alpha-fetoprotein, produced in the liver of the developing fetus, in the gestational parent’s blood

amniocentesis: a procedure that uses a needle to aspirate amniotic fluid for prenatal testing

artificial insemination: introducing semen into the vagina by mechanical/artificial means

cesarean section: delivery of a baby via abdominopelvic surgery

cephalic version: a procedure performed to turn a fetus from a breech or transverse presentation to a cephalic presentation prior to birth

cerclage: stitching the cervix to maintain a pregnancy

chorionic villus sampling: a biopsy taken of a chorionic villus for prenatal testing

dilation & curettage: dilating the cervix and scraping the uterine wall; used after a miscarriage or for obtaining tissue samples for testing purposes

episiotomy: a cut made in the vulva to facilitate a vaginal delivery

gamete intrafallopian transfer: injection of sperm cells and oocytes into a fallopian tube to aid in conception

induction: a medical process that causes labor to begin

in vitro fertilization: fertilization of oocytes with sperm that takes place in a Petri dish (see Figure 16.3)

intrauterine insemination: injecting washed semen directly into the uterus to aid in conception

non-stress test: test to measure fetal heart rate and movement in the latter stages of pregnancy

vaginal birth after cesarean section: delivering a baby vaginally after having a previous cesarean section

zygote intrafallopian transfer: injection of a zygote into a fallopian tube, after which implantation in the uterus may occur (see Figure 16.3)


Stages of IVF. Image description available.
Figure 16.3 IVF. In vitro fertilization involves egg collection from the ovaries, fertilization in a petri dish, and the transfer of embryos into the uterus. From Betts, et al., 2013. Licensed under CC BY 4.0. [Image description.]

Abbreviations Commonly Used with the Organ System

AB: abortion

AFP: alpha-fetoprotein test

AI: artificial insemination

CS, C-section: cesarean section

CVS: chorionic villus sampling

D&C: dilation and curettage

DOB: date of birth

EDD: expected or estimated date of delivery

FAS: fetal alcohol syndrome

GIFT: gamete intrafallopian transfer

HDN: hemolytic disease of the newborn

HG: hyperemesis gravidarum

IUI: intrauterine insemination

IVF: in vitro fertilization

LMP: last menstrual period

multip: multipara

NB: newborn

OB: obstetrics

primip: primipara

RDS: respiratory distress syndrome

VBAC: vaginal birth after cesarean section

ZIFT: zygote intrafallopian transfer

Medical Terms Practice

For each card, click the speaker icon to hear the correct pronunciation of the listed term. Practice saying the term to yourself, then attempt to define the term from memory. Click “Turn” to flip the card and see the definition. Use the right and left arrows to toggle through the cards in each set.

Image Descriptions

Figure 16.3 image description: This multi-part figure shows the different steps in in vitro fertilization. The top panel shows how the oocytes and the sperm are collected and prepared. (text label reads: 1a) Eggs are collected after ovulation or directly from the follicles. Sperm are collected and concentrated. (text label reads: 1b) Sperm sample is collected and concentrated by removing seminal fluid. The next panel shows the sperm and oocytes being mixed in a petri dish. (text label reads: 2) Both the collected eggs and the sperm sample are mixed in a petri dish, allowing fertilization to occur. The panel below that shows the fertilized zygote being prepared for implantation. (text label reads: 3a) The fertilized zygote is then removed from the petri dish for implantation. (text label reads: 3b) Fertilized zygote. The last panel shows the fertilized zygote being implanted into the uterus. (text label reads: 4) The zygote is then surgically implanted into the endometrium of the uterus. After successful implantation, the zygote should develop normally, as if it had been fertilized in the female’s oviducts. [Return to Figure 16.3]


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Medical Terminology: An Interactive Approach Copyright © 2022 by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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