The dictionary of childbirth

24/11/2022 By acomputer 368 Views

The dictionary of childbirth

By MagicMaman
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Childbirth, a long-awaited moment! But which also raises many questions for the future mother. To better understand the advice of your midwife and obstetrician, and to prepare for the birth of a baby, here are all the terms of childbirth explained for you.

AThe dictionary of childbirth


The mother-to-be gives birth at home with the help of a midwife or doctor. It only concerns women with non-pathological pregnancies (without diabetes or hypertension, etc.) Anesthesia and analgesia are not possible. Future mothers who make this choice consider that childbirth is over-medicalized and that reception in a medical structure is not personalized enough (there are less than 500 French women per year who practice it). Prenatal follow-up is reimbursed as well as the childbirth if it is carried out under medical agreement. It is recommended to give birth in the maternity ward and to propose a birth plan which can be discussed with the obstetrical team who will give birth.

Kidney birth

Kidney birth is when the baby takes place with the baby's back to the right of the mother (normally, it is on the left). The baby will therefore have to rotate, which lengthens the delivery time. The contractions are felt in the back (near the kidneys).

Some women feel the contractions primarily in the lower back and not in the stomach, hence the term “given birth through the kidneys”. The position of the baby may be partly responsible. When placed in the "posterior variety", his back against yours, the baby faces forward. As a result, his head presses on the sacrum (bone formed by the welding of the five sacral vertebrae which joins the spine to the pelvis) and compresses the nerve endings. From where possible irradiations in the back but they are not systematic. Other explanations for the contractions felt in the lower back: the paths of pain via the nerves are not necessarily identical in all women. In addition, some have back pain during pregnancy which can worsen during labor, others do not… It is also said that childbirth by the kidneys hurts more than a classic childbirth. It is certainly more frequent but not automatic either. So don't panic if your baby is placed in the “posterior variety”. Know that, in this case, giving birth lying on your side limits the pain.

Nursing aide

Nursing aide performs a dual role: hygienic care at the patient's bed (body wash, massage, mobility in bed) helps the nurse in the care (mobilization of patients and takes care of the cleanliness of surfaces (room, furniture, corridors) in the maternity ward or at the hospital. She has 18 months of training. The one who is not a graduate takes care of exclusively cleaning and hospitality.


Breastfeeding consists of feeding the newborn with breast milk. It is produced shortly after birth under the effect of two hormones: prolactin, which produces milk and is stimulated by baby's suckling, and oxytocin, which is responsible for the ejection of milk. Lactation also depends on the quantity and frequency of the baby's feedings and the emotional climate that accompanies the mother. From the first minutes of life, the baby has a sucking reflex.


This is the medical act that eliminates the sensation of pain (contractions) during childbirth, from the incision of the perineum during expulsion. The mother nevertheless retains the other sensations (touch, reflexes, etc.) The epidural is an analgesia.


The anesthetist-resuscitator is the doctor in charge of anesthesia: epidural, spinal anesthesia... He intervenes during the installation of anesthesia or analgesia but also each time the The woman's condition becomes worrying (haemorrhage, convulsions...). He meets each pregnant woman in the third trimester of pregnancy to perform the pre-anaesthetic visit which is mandatory even if the woman does not want an epidural or spinal anesthesia.


The anesthetist-resuscitator is the doctor in charge of anesthesia: epidural, spinal anesthesia... He intervenes during the installation of anesthesia or analgesia but also each time the The woman's condition becomes worrying (haemorrhage, convulsions...). He meets each pregnant woman in the third trimester of pregnancy to carry out the pre-anaesthetic visit which is mandatory even if the woman does not want an epidural or spinal anesthesia.


See Apgar test

Childcare assistant

The childcare assistant helps the young mother to take care of the baby and advises her on breastfeeding or artificial feeding. In general, she provides nursing care (hygiene, massage) for the baby, her nutrition and helps the nursery nurse with newborn care. She has 18 months of training.


Baby blues

Baby blues is a temporary state of depression. It can occur immediately after childbirth or a few days after childbirth. The mother is then more sensitive, irritable and fragile. This state is due to the significant drop in hormones, the difficult separation from the baby, the "empty body" and the fatigue following childbirth and baby care. The new responsibilities of being a mom are sometimes very stressful. Midwives or doctors are of course ready to listen to mothers.

Identification bracelet

This bracelet allows the baby to be identified. It is placed at birth and bears his surname and first name and the date and time of delivery. It is possible that it is even two doors, which should only be removed once returned to the parents' home! If the choice of his first name has not yet been made, he wears those of the parents.


Health book

The health book is a confidential booklet that provides medical follow-up for the child. It is issued at the maternity ward and is given to the pediatrician. The doctor includes his measurements, his state at birth and his possible treatments. The parents presenting, if they wish, this notebook at each medical consultation since all the follow-up (diseases, allergies, vaccinations) of the child is recorded. The health record is also presented upon entering school. It is recommended not to include medical elements relating to medical secrecy.

Caesarean section

A caesarean section is an incision in the abdomen and uterus to remove the baby if natural delivery is not possible (pelvis too narrow, breech presentation, etc.) It is performed under anesthesia by a gynecologist-obstetrician under epidural anesthesia or spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia (in case of emergency). It constitutes around 20% of deliveries.

Caesarean section scar

The incision made during the caesarean section leaves a thin scar on the stomach which is painful and sensitive for a few days. The scar is located about two fingers above the pubic bone and is horizontal. In the first days, the mother wears a dressing that is changed on D1 and D5 of the intervention. She eventually feels tightness because the different layers of incised skin do not heal at the same speed. The red scar initially turns pink and then white. When they are not resorbable, the sutures or staples must be removed between 5 and 10 days after the operation (this may differ depending on the gynecologist-obstetrician). Avoid: showers at the very beginning.

Barr clamp

See Kocher clamps


The contractions will gradually change the woman's cervix. It shortens and expands (opens) to completely disappear. These different phases are called effacement and dilation and will lead to the easy passage of the baby.


Drinking and eating a little before and during childbirth, is it possible? The very strict guidelines – no food or drink – of a few years ago have been relaxed. In fact, “everything depends on the anesthesiologist present in the maternity ward”, underlines Frédérique Teurnier, midwife in Paris. Some can be intransigent. Indeed, it is preferable to remain on an empty stomach in case general anesthesia proves necessary (rarely these days, because most caesarean sections are performed under epidural or spinal anesthesia). Food could flow back into the airways. “In the delivery room, water or a sweet herbal tea are often allowed, explains Frédérique Teurnier, even “energizing” drinks which give a boost: tea, coffee, hot chocolate…” In rare maternities, a small snack is authorized.


Constipation results from a slowing down of transit which is favored by progesterone (a hormone which has a relaxing effect in early pregnancy) and difficulty in bowel movements. Constipation can be aggravated if it already existed before. The epidural which slows down the transit and the apprehension to go to the stool after an episiotomy or a cesarean section accentuate this phenomenon. It is advisable to drink a lot and eat foods (prunes , orange juice...) which avoids constipation. To avoid: let a craving pass because otherwise, the stools harden and the efforts of pushing are only harder and more stressful.


They punctuate your birth from start to finish. For a first child, it is time to go to the maternity ward when they occur for thirty seconds every five minutes. At the end of childbirth, they last sixty seconds and occur approximately every two minutes. They propagate like a wave that starts in the middle of the stomach (or back), divide in two to enclose the hips and join together like a belt.

Umbilical cord

The umbilical cord provided the link between the mother and the fetus during pregnancy. At birth, it is no longer useful, which is why it is cut 20 centimeters from the child's belly. Then, using Kocher forceps, it is cut about 2.5 centimeters from the future navel. This cord requires a little care with special cleaning gel then dries out and falls out on its own within 5 to 10 days. If it's a little boy watch that he does not pee on his cord in this case you have to change the compress.

Cost of childbirth

If the mother gives birth in a private or public establishment under agreement, she is fully reimbursed except for single rooms and other supplements (television, etc.) is an establishment only approved by Social Security, it is reimbursed at 100%. Some mutuals cover all these supplements. In general, the duration of a maternity stay is 2 to 5 days. If this duration exceeds 12 days, a medical certificate is required to be compensated. Caesarean section and epidural are often reimbursed and some maternities offer a “diapers” package for little ones.


An incubator is a "closed" bed, a medical device (with which it is possible to monitor the baby, take its temperature, control the heat, put oxygen, and do all sheltered care) in which premature or sick newborns are placed. The temperature there is quite high and is adapted to the needs of the baby (reproduction of the uterine environment). There are portholes on the side for parents or medical staff to cuddle or care for baby.


Cracks are lesions on the nipple that look like small cracks. Appearing during breastfeeding, they are caused by a bad position of the baby at the breast, engorgement and fragility of the skin. To treat them, creams are prescribed.


The dictionary of childbirth

See forceps.

Mesh panties

These are mesh panties, one size. They make it possible to wear large protections for lochia after childbirth. They are stretchable and quite comfortable since they are not too tight at the waist.


Declaration of birth

This is a compulsory administrative procedure, which is done within three days of the baby's birth. It informs the State of the birth of a new little citizen and makes it possible to specify his identity. It is the father who must go to the town hall of the place of birth where a birth certificate is established. He must bring the family book so that the child is registered there and a birth certificate issued by the maternity ward. The declaration of birth does not recognize the parentage between the child and unmarried couples. Namely: if the child is born on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the declaration is made the following Monday. It sometimes happens that maternity hospitals have agreements with town halls, in this case: the declaration is made directly between the midwife and the civil registrar. Dad must sign.


This means inducing labor. It is particularly used when a normal pregnancy has passed its term. It is also recommended in cases of serious pathological pregnancy (severe pre-eclampsia, toxaemia of pregnancy, etc.) If the cervix is ​​already a little open, then a hormone, oxytocin, is injected, which causes contractions. If the cervix is ​​immature (softened and open), special products (particularly prostaglandins) are placed in the vagina or cervix to open the cervix in a few days. If it is decided to ripen the cervix, the mother remains under medical supervision until delivery.


When the baby's head reaches the lower part (pelvis, cervix, vagina, vaginal opening), it pivots around the pubis and leaves its flexed position. It then emerges outwards followed by the shoulders and the rest of the body quickly.


Delivery is the third phase of childbirth. About fifteen minutes after the expulsion of baby, new contractions occur. They allow the placenta to be expelled from the uterus. The midwife facilitates the expulsion by pressing on the lower abdomen and asking the mother to push. She then performs a check of the placenta to see if it is complete (membranes and placenta). If this is not the case, a uterine revision is performed (see definition) If the placenta is complete, the uterus retracts normally.

Artificial delivery

If the placenta still hasn't separated after 45 minutes, the obstetrician-gynecologist will separate it manually. Performed under epidural or general anesthesia, the mother then receives an injection of hormones to cause contractions and release the placenta. Antibiotics are also prescribed to avoid any risk of infection.

Postpartum depression

This depression follows the baby blueset and is symptomatic of anxiety attacks, insomnia, rejection of the child and a certain devaluation as a mother. Some studies show that the child feels his mother's discomfort and expresses it by crying, sleeping or eating disorders. The mother must then talk about it quickly and seek treatment. Postpartum depression requires care with a psychologist or psychiatrist.


Under the effect of contractions, the cervix gradually shortens until it disappears and merges with the rest of the uterus. They say it fades away. Then (or in parallel) it gradually opens. He expands. The dilation is expressed in centimeters from 1 to 10. Generally, the dilation remains slower until 5 centimeters and then accelerates. On average, there is one centimeter of opening per hour.

Duration of childbirth

A first childbirth lasts on average eight to ten hours and the following six to eight. Don't panic, the term childbirth covers all the work from the start of the first contractions – very often at home. That said, imponderables can always occur: a false labor at the start, contractions proving to be ineffective, a dilation which stagnates or a baby who does not engage in the pelvis. Moreover, the stress, the worries and the pain only accentuate a time which stretches in length…


Waters (the loss of)

It is manifested by the loss of a very clear liquid which is synonymous with an imminent delivery. The baby is no longer protected from external aggressions and childbirth is looming. It is important to consult immediately in the maternity ward as soon as a feeling of fluid loss occurs.


When cervical dilation is complete, the baby engages in the pelvis. Since the bones of the head of the fetus are not completely formed, the baby bends his head to find the most favorable diameter of the pelvis and his passage is facilitated. It is useless to push at this time, it is still too high for the pushes to have any effect. He goes down little by little while the midwife checks, via monitoring, that everything is going well.


Breast engorgement is an accumulation of milk in the breast and tissue congestion. To avoid this, alternating breastfeeding with both breasts and massages is very effective. It is important to put the baby to the breast often, 10 minutes on each breast.


An episiotomy is an incision of the vulva and the muscles of the perineum to enlarge the passage at the level of the vulva. The midwife or obstetrician-gynecologist can perform an episiotomy. Episiotomy tends to avoid excessive tearing of the perineum. It is often performed when the baby is too big or when it comes through the seat or when the distance between the opening of the vagina and the anus is too small (significant risk of serious tearing) or when the woman has a very fragile skin or when it is urgent to shorten the expulsion. It is never systematic. The episiotomy is sewn up with absorbable sutures, under local anesthesia if the mother does not have an epidural. The scar can remain painful for a fortnight. It is possible to massage the scar with soothing creams.


During childbirth, it is possible to stretch a little by adopting a position that the mother considers most suitable. Stretching helps to breathe well for both mother and child. It also helps to be less arched and to avoid hyperlordosis.

Baby's clinical examination

The baby's clinical examination consists of checking whether his body is working well and testing his first reflexes. After having, among other things, looked at the symmetry of his face, the shape of the skull, all the parts of his body (from head to toe), the midwife or the pediatrician listens to his heart and palpates the abdomen, measures the score of Apgar then the measurements (weight, height, circumference of the head).

Entrance examination

Shortly after arriving at the maternity ward, the mother is examined by a midwife who has studied her file. She then proceeds to a measurement of the uterine height, a palpation to identify the baby's position, a vaginal examination to measure the dilation and listening to the heartbeat of the fetus. It is at this time that the mother must specify whether or not she wishes an epidural. She can also discuss with the midwife the positions during labor and the delivery position.


Expulsion marks the final arrival of the baby. The midwife notices the baby's hair and indicates to the mother that it is necessary to push, the baby's efforts are no longer sufficient. This phase lasts about 30 minutes. The midwife guides the expulsive efforts by explaining to the mother how to breathe (catch her breath) between two contractions, how to push, helps the mother by guiding the release of the child's head.



This card announcing the birth of a baby has become a tradition. It may include certain information such as surnames, first names, date and time of birth, weight, height.

False labor

We speak of false labor when contractions, even intense ones, have no effect on the cervix, which does not open. It is not uncommon for future mothers to arrive too quickly at the maternity ward with contractions that are not really regular and that they are told: "false labor, Madam"! Midwives have a way to check this: they prescribe an antispasmodic (Spasfon®). The contractions of false labor will then fade and disappear while the "real" dilation contractions indicating labor is beginning will persist and grow stronger and stronger. To avoid going to the maternity ward too soon, take a hot bath (unless your water has broken) to recognize false labor. When this happens, the contractions stop.

Puerperal fever

This is an infectious disease occurring after childbirth or miscarriage: it occurs if the expulsion of the placenta has not been complete. It is caused by bacteria; it gives the mother a fever and causes abdominal pain. Diagnosed as quickly as possible, she was treated very well with antibiotics.


The forceps consist of two metal spoons that facilitate the descent of the baby and its expulsion thanks to small, gentle tractions. The gynecologist-obstetrician inserts them one after the other into the vagina and positions them along the skull of the fetus.

Administrative formalities

When the mother arrives at the maternity ward, she is asked for: an identity document, her Vitale card and her pre-admission. Then, place to the entrance examinations (examination of urine, temperature and blood pressure.)

Urinary leakage

See urine



The gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in monitoring a woman's genitalia. He takes care of the first check-up visit, the one that informs the mother that she is pregnant, but does not take care of the pregnancy follow-up or the delivery.


The gynecologist-obstetrician undergoes specific training for childbirth. It can monitor pathological pregnancies as well as "normal" pregnancies. It is involved in all clinical deliveries but only in the event of a problem in a hospital (too slow dilation, fetal distress, etc.).


Delivery haemorrhage

We speak of deliverance haemorrhage when the bleeding after the expulsion of the child exceeds 500ml, the first cause of absence of contraction which prevents the expulsion of the placenta. Frequent cause also: the uterus is not completely emptied, one then proceeds to a uterine revision associated with drugs. In the case of wounds on the cervix or on the vagina, a simple suture is sufficient. If the hemorrhage is really serious, the doctor intervenes and performs a ligation of the vessels or an embolization (“plugging” of the vessels).


This is an abnormal accentuation of the curvature of the spine (more backward). It occurs when the mother is in a semi-sitting position to give birth.

Fetal hypoxia

It is asphyxiation of the baby due to lack of oxygen during childbirth. Spotted by an abnormal heartbeat, this fetal distress is caused by various problems (prolonged labor, too many and intense contractions, active and/or passive smoking during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester) the doctor then performs an emergency cesarean section.



A graduate with a baccalaureate +3, the nurse helps the midwife in the labor room for the installation of an infusion for example. Dressed in white, she is especially present for the mother after childbirth since she takes care of episiotomy care, medication...

Uterine involution

Uterine involution means that the uterus returns to its normal size in the pelvis shortly after delivery. Indeed, it has retracted after delivery and allows to compress the blood vessels, and to avoid hemorrhage. The cervix becomes perfectly normal about three weeks later.


There are no results for the letter J


There are no results for the letter K



See lactation

Breast milk

Breast milk is produced by the mother and fully covers the child's needs up to 6 months. Beyond a diversified diet can begin but it is possible to breastfeed for more than 6 months. Milk contains lactose (sugar), fats, proteins, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements and water. Its most valuable contribution: antibodies.


Lanugo is a fine down that covers certain parts of the body, especially the top of the shoulders and the back of the newborn. It is very abundant in the fetus and disappears at the end of pregnancy. It is for this reason that a premature baby is covered with it while a full-term baby has practically none.


Laparotomy is the other medical term for a caesarean section.


A laxative is a medicine that helps you have a bowel movement. It is often prescribed on D-Day to avoid cravings under the strain of pushing or pressure from the baby's head.


Lochia is bleeding that occurs within 8 days of childbirth. They are made up of debris from the uterine lining that surrounded the egg, blood and clots. They are due to uterine involution. Their duration can vary but in general the blood loss lasts three weeks. Bleeding is heavy and dark in the first days, then clearer and more succinct from the 5th day. If they are smelly, better consult the midwife and doctor.


This inflammation, also called mastitis, results from poorly treated engorgement of the breasts. Redness on the breast, pain and fever may then appear. The doctor prescribes medication to ease the pain.



See lymphangitis.


These are the first stools passed by the newborn. They are viscous, greenish and sticky. They last a few days and quickly give way to real stools. If the child is breastfed, the stools are abundant, watery and yellow.

Early breastfeeding

For the mother who wishes to breastfeed, the medical team places the baby on her stomach either after cutting the cord or after first aid. The newborn then has a "burrowing" reflex: he searches for mum's nipple and goes there almost instinctively. When he has found the object of all his attention, he can have the sucking reflex but sometimes he needs a little more time...


This is a device that monitors the baby's heart rate but also the frequency of contractions. It is placed as soon as the mother-to-be arrives at the maternity ward. It is at a belt, made up of two sensors and is connected to a device carrying a drop-down paper. We see tracings corresponding to the recording of the fetal heart rate and the recording of uterine contractions (frequency, intensity).

Milky rise

It is the arrival of milk in the breasts on the third day after childbirth. It follows colostrum. This milk is called transitional milk because the real milk, called mature milk, appears within fifteen days.


A woman is multiparous when she has already given birth several times.

Ripen (do)

Ripen the cervix refers to all the actions carried out by the medical team to soften and open the cervix. It is practiced as part of an induction by placing a drug in the vagina or cervix. See also: triggering.



See childbirth

Child's name

Since 2005, parents can choose to give the child only the mother's or father's name or both together. They are then obliged to give the same name to the entire line. This name is to be given to a civil registrar.



See obstetrician-gynecologist.


Secreted naturally during childbirth by the mother-to-be, oxytocin is also a hormone injected during labor to speed up childbirth. It causes more frequent contractions and harmonizes labor. Finally, it is used at the end of childbirth to avoid haemorrhaging during delivery, which is called controlled delivery.

Opening of the cervix

Under the effect of contractions, the cervix shortens and opens. The midwife can therefore introduce a finger during the vaginal examination (see also cervix).



The partograph is a document, an hour-by-hour record of childbirth which records the stages of labour; the midwife records the progress of the dilation, the presentation of the baby, the temperature, the effectiveness of the epidural, the antibiotics. It makes it possible to trace all the events that occurred during childbirth and up to two hours after childbirth.


The term designates a woman who gives birth.

Skin to skin

Skin to skin is a "technique" or position: the newborn is placed naked on the mother's body. He is imbued with the same bacteria as her and enjoys her warmth while resting. The benefits of skin-to-skin are also recognized for premature babies who breathe better and are "metabolically" more stable. In addition, for those who wish to breastfeed, put the baby on his stomach and let him search for the chest alone to exercise his reflexes. If the delivery went well, there are no contraindications to practicing skin to skin immediately after birth.


The pediatrician is the medical specialist who takes care of babies and children. He followed a specific training of 5 years to specialize in childhood. It is he who examines the babies during the first week of life and after leaving the maternity ward, if the mother so wishes. In addition, he then monitors his growth, examines and treats him if he is sick, administers vaccinations and reassures worried parents. It accompanies children from 0 to 18 years old


The pessary is inserted when the mother has a prolapse, also called organ descent. This is a small rubber or plastic ring, quite flexible, to be placed in the vagina. It keeps the affected organ in place.


An infusion is placed on the mother-to-be during childbirth. It performs a double function: it quickly injects medicine in case of problems and it brings nutrients to the mother who can neither drink nor eat. The infusion therefore provides it with the necessary nutrients such as glucose (to avoid hypoglycaemia).


An epidural is an analgesia of the lower part of the body. It is performed using a fairly long needle introduced into the lumbar vertebrae. It acts within a quarter of an hour. The epidural does not deprive of all the sensations when it is well dosed, however it is not possible for all women (tattoo in the lower back, skin infections which prevent its installation,...)


It is the set of muscles – crossed by the urethra, the vagina and the anus – which form the floor of the abdomen. It can be compared to a hammock that goes from the pubis to the sacrum. It plays a big role during childbirth as it stretches and relaxes to allow passage of the baby's head. This is the last rampart before going out into the open air!


During pregnancy, the placenta provides the link between the mother and the fetus. After childbirth, the placenta is no longer useful: it is therefore expelled shortly after the baby thanks to contractions. This phase is called deliverance. The placenta is then examined by the midwife and checks that it is complete (baby side and mother side). If this is not the case, she proceeds to a uterine revision.

Bag of waters

The bag of waters – aka the membranes of the amniotic sac – generally and naturally ruptures in maternity under the effect of contractions. It also happens that the rupture occurs at home at the very beginning of labor, in which case it is necessary to go immediately to the maternity ward. Sometimes it is the midwife who breaks the bag of waters with a membrane piercer (it is not painful) to make the work more efficient. Indeed, the baby's head pressing more, the stronger contractions will help the cervix to dilate.

Birthing positions

In general, the mother gives birth lying down because it is more convenient for the obstetric team! In the event of a problem, they are better able to act, but this position does not help baby in his descent and is not really favorable to pushing from the mother. Some therefore prefer to give birth, lying on the left side: the blood circulates better and baby passes better or others leaning forward, standing, squatting. These positions are more natural for pushing and make it easier for baby to pass.


When pushing, classic breathing is preferred to get the baby out. “Breathe-lock-push”: at the beginning of the contraction, we take in a lot of air through the nose and then block and push from below for as long as possible. Sometimes we also offer another method, slowed exhalation. Schematically, the future mother inhales then exhales slowly without blocking her breath and contracting the abdominal muscles. The baby enclosed by the muscles is thus pushed forward. Slowed expiration is less tiring, more physiological and therefore more respectful of the perineum. “The best thing is for each woman to choose the breath with which she is most comfortable, observes Frédérique Teurnier, one may be more suitable than the other. »


A premature baby means that it was born before term. Three classes of prematurity can be distinguished: very great prematurity (or extreme prematurity) designates a child born between 22 and 28 weeks of amenorrhea, great prematurity (or severe prematurity) between 28 and 32 weeks of amenorrhea, and finally average prematurity from 32 weeks. Prematurity can be attributed to anomalies of the uterus, fetus, anomalies related to the mother or anomalies inherent in medical facts (medically assisted procreation), active and/or passive smoking, alcohol intake and / or drugs. Some sequelae can follow a premature birth, however medical progress considerably improves the life and health of premature babies.

First aid

The midwife performs first aid on the baby within minutes of birth. The first treatment is to unclog the airways (small tube placed in the nasal and oral passages to remove mucus). Then the midwife takes care of the umbilical cord (section) and takes the baby's measurements (height, weight). Finally, she performs the Apgar test.

Cord prolapse

Rarely, part of the umbilical cord can cross the pelvis before the baby's head and come out into the open air. Prolapse (or prolapse) of the cord is more common when the fetus presents breech or in a transverse position. The cord is then compressed and deprives the baby of oxygen which must be born as quickly as possible. The use of forceps or a caesarean section are necessary. Note that the cord generally measures 50 to 60 centimeters but can reach 1.50 meters!


Prolactin is the hormone responsible for mother's lactation. Secreted by the pituitary (gland at the base of the brain), it stimulates the mammary glands which produce milk.


See organ descent


These are substances produced by the uterus and released when the water bag breaks. They are also active on contractions. They contribute to the acceleration of labour.


There are no results for the letter Q


Spinal anesthesia

Spinal anesthesia is anesthesia that only puts the lower part of the body to sleep. It is performed using a needle between the lumbar vertebrae. This technique is only valid for very rapid interventions of the caesarean type because its duration of action is only two hours.


If waxing or not waxing the mother does not suit the medical team, the midwife shaves on each side of the labia majora and between the vagina and the anus . Thus the perineum is clear which facilitates suturing in case of episiotomy.

Child recognition

Declaring your child to the town hall of the place of his birth or to the notary, makes it possible to establish the natural filiation between the parents and him. This declaration must be made within three days of the birth or before a court if this deadline is exceeded. A birth certificate, an identity document and the family record book are requested. If the mother is single, she receives this booklet on this occasion. We also give civil status records to send to the employer, to the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (plus the health certificate given by the maternity ward, on leaving) and finally to the Caisse d'Assurance-Maladie. This recognition by the father can be done without the mother's consent, by will or before the birth with a pregnancy certificate and an identity document. A legal action can also compel the father to recognize his child.

Abdominal rehabilitation

The objective is to revitalize the abdominal muscles by performing small classic abdominal exercises but also exercises on the oblique muscles (on the sides) and transverse muscles (lower belly ). These exercises are performed at the physiotherapist and the visit is reimbursed. Attention: a rehabilitation of the perineum must be started before the abdominal rehabilitation and it is not done without the green light of the doctor!

Perineal rehabilitation

The objective is to revitalize the abdominal muscles by performing small classic abdominal exercises but also exercises on the oblique muscles (on the sides) and transverse muscles (lower belly ). These exercises are performed at the physiotherapist and the visit is reimbursed. Attention: a rehabilitation of the perineum must be started before the abdominal rehabilitation and it is not done without the green light of the doctor!


During childbirth, breathing is essential. Holding your breath and tensing up during a contraction increases the pain. This is why special techniques have been developed. More simply, inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth facilitates baby's progress.

Return of childbirth

This somewhat outdated term indicates the reappearance of periods after childbirth. The resumption of the normal menstrual cycle with ovulation generally occurs within 6 to 8 weeks following the birth of the baby for those who are not breastfeeding. For those who are breastfeeding, recovery returns between 2 and 6 weeks after stopping breastfeeding.

Uterine revision

Shortly after delivery, the midwife inspects the placenta to see if it is complete. If this is not the case, there is still debris in the mother's body. The practitioner then proceeds to a uterine revision. It will manually look for the pieces of membranes that have not come off. This practice is done under epidural or general anesthesia and does not take more than 5 minutes. It requires antibiotic treatment during the uterine revision and afterwards during the maternity stay.

Artificial rupture of the membranes

An artificial rupture of the membranes is performed when it is necessary to accelerate the delivery. Using a forceps to rupture, the bag of waters is broken. The baby must then be in the pelvis. Performed around 5 centimeters of dilation, this rupture is painless. It allows you to see the color of the amniotic fluid.



The specialist in normal childbirth is the midwife. She takes care of the pregnant woman, in prenatal follow-up but especially during labor. She ensures the normal delivery and calls the doctor in case of complications. Sometimes dressed in pink, she has five years of studies behind her and provides advice and encouragement during childbirth.

Bleeding from the cervix

See postpartum haemorrhage

Delivery room

Labour takes place in the delivery room. This houses a delivery table, surgical lighting, a baby examination table, an incubator, a sink and surgical instruments and control devices [monitoring (recording of contractions and the heart of the fetus... )].

Umbilical cord cutting

Immediately after birth or within minutes, it is necessary to cut the umbilical cord. If the cord is not cut, a return circulation of blood from the child to the mother is exerted and could cause hemorrhage. To properly cut the cord, Kocher clamps are placed to stop the circulation. Thus, the father or the midwife can cut it without fear without it hurting either the mother or the child.


A glucose solution is injected during childbirth because the mother cannot drink or eat.


If the mother's bladder is too full and it gets in the way during the expulsion of the baby, the midwife inserts a catheter to empty her bladder.

Fetal distress

The monitoring indicates a slowing of the baby's heart rate, this is called fetal distress. The heart rate is also measured by placing an electrode on the baby's skull. The obstetrician-gynecologist makes a small incision to collect fetal blood when he needs to know the oxygenation and acidity levels of the blood. Depending on the results, he decides either to perform a caesarean section (if the dilation is not very advanced) or to use forceps if the patient is fully dilated and the fetus engaged in the middle part).

Thierry's spatulas

Thierry's spatulas are similar to forceps. They make baby's descent easier with small pulls: they guide baby's head while removing muscular obstacles. The spatulas are used separately because they are detached from each other and turn out to be less traumatic. They are used to deflect the baby's head.


The term "post-delivery" refers to all the phenomena that occur between childbirth and the return of the diaper. Then occur: the milky rise or lactation, the uterine involution, the lochia and finally the return of layers.


Vaginal examination

A vaginal examination (which makes it possible to realize the dilation of the cervix and therefore the progress of labor) every hour during childbirth remains the rule in our maternities. The repetition of this gesture (two fingers introduced into the vagina) is disputed and remains a very French specialty. Systematic vaginal examination would not necessarily be useful during pregnancy either. It would be a vector of infections (and would cause contractions during pregnancy). Some professionals have understood this. It is more and more frequent to only perform a vaginal examination at the beginning of labor and one in the middle/end of childbirth. Except, of course, if the situation requires it.

Vernix Caseosa

This greasy, whitish substance coats the baby's body and protects it from the salty elements of amniotic fluid. At the end of pregnancy, it begins to detach and forms small flakes in the amniotic fluid… but there remains enough to help the baby slip out into the open air like a bar of soap!

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