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L – Glossary Terms

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

The process of childbirth, in which the rhythmic contractions of the uterine muscles open the cervix and allow a baby to be born.

The production of milk that usually begins between two and seven days after a woman gives birth.

Pioneered by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze, this technique for preparing for childbirth (also called the psychoprophylactic method) is based on the idea that the best way to control pain is through knowledge and relaxation. The method emphasizes breathing techniques.

Landau's reflex
When laid face down, a 3- to 12-month-old will arch his back and raise his head.

The fine hair that covers a fetus from about 26 weeks, and is sometimes still present at birth. A baby born at term will usually shed the hair by the end of the first week after birth.

A surgical procedure in which a laparoscope -- a thin, lighted microscope -- is inserted in an incision in the abdomen to view internal organs.

When the fetus descends into the pelvic cavity. In first-time mothers, usually occurs two to four weeks before delivery; women who have already given birth usually don't lighten until they begin labor.

linea nigra
The darkening of the linea alba, the hard-to-see white line that runs down the center of the abdomen to the top of the pubic bone, during pregnancy. Pigmentation changes usually fade after delivery.

Vaginal discharge made up of mucus, blood, and tissue that continues after delivery for up to six weeks. Usually bright red and as heavy or heavier than a period in the first few days after birth, then gradually tapering off.

Severe curvature of the lower spine.

low birth weight
When a full-term infant weighs less than 5.5 pounds at birth. Nearly seven of every 100 newborns are low birth weight babies; most of these cases are linked to cigarette, alcohol, or drug use during pregnancy and can be prevented.

lumbar puncture
A procedure in which spinal fluid is drawn from the spinal column to check for diseases, including meningitis.

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