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C – Glossary Terms

Created by: Melissa Werner
Posted : Monday January 01, 1900

Stitching closed a weak cervix (called an incompetent cervix) to support a pregnancy to term. Most successful in preventing miscarriage and preterm labor when performed early in pregnancy -- at about 18 to 20 weeks.

cervical cap
A birth control device (similar to a diaphragm, but smaller) that fits over a woman's cervix and keeps sperm from entering. Must be fitted by a physician or nurse and checked yearly for proper fit.

cervical incompetence
A condition in which the cervix, under pressure from the growing uterus, opens before a pregnancy has reached term. Can cause miscarriage in the second trimester or preterm labor in the third, but can be treated by surgical reinforcement of the cervical muscle (called cerclage).

cervical mucus
Vaginal discharge that changes in consistency throughout a woman's monthly cycle, resembling raw egg white around ovulation. Many women check the consistency of their cervical mucus along with their basal body temperature to chart fertility.

cervical mucus method
A natural birth control method accomplished by timing intercourse according to the consistency of the woman's cervical mucus. Mucus similar to raw egg white signifies ovulation, when a woman is most fertile, while thick and cloudy mucus indicates a time when conception is less likely.

The narrow, lower end of the uterus.

cesarean section
A surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through an incision in the abdomen and uterus. Used when a woman can't give birth vaginally or if the baby is in distress.

chicken pox
A mild, highly contagious virus characterized by itchy fluid-filled blisters all over the body that can lead to complications if the blisters become infected. A vaccine is available.

chorionic villus sampling
An early genetic screening test -- usually given between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy. In CVS, some of the cells that line the placenta, the chorionic villi, are removed through the cervix or abdomen with a needle or catheter and screened for Down syndrome and other abnormalities.

cleft lip and palate
A birth defect in which the lip or the lip and palate (roof of the mouth) do not grow together. Can be repaired with surgery, usually performed within the first year after birth.

A congenital deformed or distorted foot. May respond to exercises and/or surgery.

The name given to long, unexplained bouts of crying in an infant -- usually beginning between the second and third weeks of life and disappearing by about the 12th. About 20 percent of babies are colicky.

A precursor to breast milk that's rich in fats, protein, and antibodies, colostrum is sometimes called "early milk." Most women produce it a few days before and after childbirth; some women produce small amounts of it from the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy.

During labor, the strong, rhythmic tightening of the uterus. Pre-labor contractions are usually irregular and don't increase in intensity or duration.

cradle cap
A name for seborrheic dermatitis, a condition of the skin (usually on an infant's head) that causes crusting, scaling, and discoloration. Usually disappears in the first couple years of an infant's life.

Premature closing of joints or sutures in the skull.

Caused by a viral infection in the area of a child's vocal cords, croup is characterized by its primary symptom -- a tight, dry, harsh cough. Croup generally lasts for five or six days and affects children under 3.

The appearance of a baby's head at the vaginal opening during labor.

cytomegalovirus infection
A common viral infection transmitted by saliva, breast milk, or urine. Relatively rare and relatively mild, the infection does occasionally cause deafness and neurological problems in newborns.

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