by | Jun 17, 2017 | Pregnancy

“Good morning Mrs. Smith! We see that your EDD is tomorrow and you have not received any prenatal care. Wow, we better get started.

First, we will need blood samples to run a Prenatal Panel. The tests will include a CBC, Antibody Screen, and Blood Typing. Our practice also requires screening for HIV.

Next, we need a clean catch for a urine culture. We will also test the urine here with a dipstick to check for protein, glucose, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, and a handful of other things you probably didn’t know your urine tells us.

Oh, you say you haven’t eaten anything for breakfast? Great! We can do a 2 hour GTT as well.
By the way, you don’t have HSV do you?

And before you leave, we’ll collect a specimen to test for GBS. Don’t worry about it now, we just like to save the best for last. Hopefully the lab results arrive before the baby!”

Are you as perplexed as Mrs. Smith might be after that introduction?

Most midwives and doctors do not intend to confuse their clients with a litany of professional jargon. Regrettably, many may forget that their everyday acronyms might sound foreign to a woman who specializes in banking, building, or baking rather than birthing.

Informed consent is the hallmark of quality care. How can anyone make an informed choice if they don’t understand what their practitioner is saying?

The following glossary of terms is not meant to be comprehensive. This brief introduction is intended to facilitate a better understanding of the terms used in maternity care.

Pregnancy Vocabulary Infograph

Pregnancy Terms



  • Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) – Your dude date based on your LMP or ultrasound results. Only 5% of women give birth on their EDD.
  • Last Menstrual Period (LMP) – The first day of your last menstrual cycle before conception.
  • Prenatal – The time between conception and birth.
  • Postpartum – The time after giving birth.

Practitioner Credentials

  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) – A midwife who has met standards set by the North American Registry of Midwives, including passing a written test based on academic and clinical knowledge.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – A registered nurse who has completed addition training in maternity care. Licensed by the Nursing Board of the state in which they are practicing.
  • Licensed Midwife (LM) – A midwife licensed by the Medical Board of the state in which they are practicing.
  • Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN) – A doctor licensed by the Medical Board of the state in which they are practicing.

Lab Work and Results

  • Blood Typing – Determines the client’s blood type and Rh factor (positive or negative). There are 8 blood type: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+, O-.
  • Antibody Screen – Determines which, if any, antibodies the mother’s blood contains.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – Reports on several blood components including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • Clean Catch – A method of collecting urine. For women, the instructions often include wiping the labia from front to back, using an additional wipe directly over the urethra, and catching a mid-stream sample of urine in a sterile cup.
  • Group Beta Strep (GBS) – Determines if the Group Beta Streptococcus bacteria has colonized in the client’s vagina. Practitioners collect a sample from the clients vagina with a Q-tip type swab.
  • Glucose – A type of sugar which, when found in urine during pregnancy, may indicate gestational diabetes.
  • Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) – Measures the body’s ability to process sugar. Generally done by taking blood samples before and after fasting and ingesting a sugary drink.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – This virus destroys the body’s immune system and is transmitted via contact with bodily fluids.
  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) – HSV 2 causes genital herpes and is transmitted via direct contact with sores.
  • Ketones – Molecules produced by the liver when fat is burned which, when found in urine, may indicate a need for more calories.
  • Leukocytes – White blood cells which, when found in urine, may indicate a bladder infections, urinary tract infection, or general illness.
  • Nitrites – A chemical compound created by the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.
    Prenatal Panel – A predetermined set of laboratory tests that may include MMR, Syphilis, Gonorrhea/Chlamydia, Hep B, CBC, and ABO typing among others.
  • Protein – Macromolecules made up of amino acids. During early pregnancy, protein in urine may indicate a urinary tract infection. In late pregnancy, protein may indicate preeclampsia.

Special thanks to my wonderful sister-in-love Jessica for the inspiration behind this post!

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