• Maternal-Fetal Glossary

    We understand many of the terms you may hear during the course of treatment at the Cincinnati Fetal Center will be unfamiliar. We hope this glossary is a helpful reference for you and your family.

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  • Amniocentesis
    A procedure that uses a needle to draw a sample of amniotic fluid which is then analyzed to detect chromosome abnormalities.

    Amniotic Fluid
    The fluid in which the embryo or fetus is suspended within the womb.

    Biopsy
    The removal and examination of tissue, cells and fluids from the living body.

    Bladder outlet obstruction (BOO)
    A blockage that prevents urine from flowing freely out of the bladder. Learn more about Bladder Outlet Obstruction.

    Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
    An alternative to amniocentesis to detect chromosomal abnormalities. The CVS can be performed earlier in fetal development.

    Chromosomes
    Thread-like linear strands of DNA and associated proteins.

    Congenital Defect
    A problem or condition in a human, existing at or dating from birth; acquired during development in the womb (uterus).

    CHAOS
    Congenital high airway obstruction syndrome. Learn more about CHAOS.

    Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation/Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation (CCAM/CPAM)
    Benign tumor of the lung, usually one lobe. Learn more about CCAM / CPAM.

    Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)
    Malformation or absence of the diaphragm, allowing abdominal contents to enter the thoracic cavity. Learn more about Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.

    Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
    Malformation of the heart.

    Cloaca
    Congenital defect due to non-closure of membranes resulting in exteriorization of the genitourinary tract.

    Colorectal Malformation
    Congenital defect to the bowel involving the colon and/or rectum.

    Diagnosis
    The art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.

    Diagnostic Fetoscopy
    A minimally-invasive examination of the fetus by a miniature video camera inserted through a small tube into the uterus.

    Diagnostic Testing
    A variety of tests and procedures performed on a patient to effectively establish a diagnosis. Procedures include laboratory tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and other imaging studies. Learn more about our diagnostic services.

    ECHO
    Ultrasound technique for evaluating the fetal heart.

    ECMO
    Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation – a type of surgical intervention in which the patient receives support from a heart-lung machine.

    Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
    A test that records maternal heart rhythm and is part of the pre-operative evaluation.

    Ex Utero Intrapartum Treatment (EXIT)
    A surgical delivery under general anesthesia that utilizes placental support while a procedure is performed on the fetus/baby.

    Ex Utero
    Outside of the womb (uterus).

    Fetal Echocardiography
    A high resolution ultrasound test to detect structural heart abnormalities/dysfunction in the fetus.

    Fetal Abnormality
    A condition detected in the unborn human that is not the normal or average.

    Fetal Medicine
    A well-established and highly sophisticated area of medicine that covers the broad spectrum of conditions potentially treatable before a baby’s birth. Fetal medicine has been practiced for more than 20 years. Also referred to as fetology and prenatal pediatrics.

    Fetal Surgeon
    A specialist in fetal surgery.

    Fetal Surgery
    Surgical treatment of the unborn human in the womb/uterus. Learn more about our surgical services.

    Fetal Therapy
    Treatment of the unborn human; can be medical and/or surgical.

    Fetologist
    A specialist in fetology.

    Fetology
    A well-established and highly sophisticated area of medicine that covers the broad spectrum of conditions potentially treatable before a baby's birth. Fetology has been practiced for more than 20 years. Also referred to as fetal medicine and prenatal pediatrics.

    Fetus
    A developing human, usually defined as three months after conception to birth. This stage of development follows the embryo or embryonic stage.

    Gastroschisis
    A congenital abdominal wall defect to the right of the umbilicus, usually containing bowel.

    Genetic Counseling
    Medical education of affected individuals and the general public concerning inherited (genetic) disorders.

    Genetics
    A branch of biology that deals with the heredity and variation of organisms.

    Hydrocephalus
    Enlarged heard due to enlarged ventricles with increased cerebrospinal fluid.

    Hydrothorax
    Fluid in the thoracic cavity.

    In Utero
    Relating to being in the womb.

    Intestinal atresia
    Blockage of the intestine during fetal development.

    Laser
    Utilized during a surgical procedure to coagulate vessels.

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    A noninvasive diagnostic technique that produces computerized images of internal body tissue and is based on nuclear magnetic resonance of atoms within the body induced by the application of radio waves.

    Maternal-Fetal Medicine
    The diagnostic monitoring and management of high-risk pregnancies; also called perinatology.

    Myelomeningocele (MMC)
    Learn more about Myelomeningocele.

    National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation. It is an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH headquarters are located in Bethesda, Maryland, and the surrounding area. The NIH funds scientific studies at universities and research institutions across the nation, including the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

    Neonatal
    Relating to or affecting the newborn, especially the human infant during the first month after birth.

    Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
    An area within a hospital dedicated to the care and treatment of premature and critically ill babies with medical/surgical issues. Learn more about the Cincinnati Children's NICU.

    Neonate
    A baby less than a month old.

    Neonatologist
    A specialist in neonatology.

    Neonatology
    A branch of medicine concerned with the care, development and diseases of newborn infants.

    Nurse Practitioner
    A registered nurse with advanced training who is qualified to assume some of the duties formerly assumed only by a physician. The nurse practitioner works with physicians to establish a plan of care and deliver care to patients.

    Nutritionist
    A specialist in the study of nutrition.

    Obstetrician
    A specialist in obstetrics.

    Obstetrics
    A branch of medicine that deals with birth.

    Oligohydramnios
    A condition in which there is too little (less than the normal range) amniotic fluid.

    Omphalocele
    An anterior wall defect through the umbilicus in which exteriorized abdominal contents are covered by a membrane. A giant omphalocele contains the liver. See Health Topic.

    Pediatrician
    A specialist in pediatrics.

    Pediatrics
    A branch of medicine dealing with the development, care and diseases of children.

    Perinatal
    Concerned with or being in the period around the time of birth.

    Perinatologist
    A specialist in perinatology; typically has 2 to 3 years more training than an obstetrician / gynecologist.

    Perinatology
    A branch of medicine concerned with care of high-risk pregnancies. Also called maternal-fetal medicine.

    Polyhydramnios
    Too much (larger amount than normal) amniotic fluid.

    Postnatal
    Occurring, existing or performed after birth.

    Prenatal
    Occurring, existing or performed before birth.

    Prenatal Pediatrics
    A well-established and highly sophisticated area of medicine that covers the broad spectrum of conditions potentially treatable before a baby's birth. It includes fetal surgery (surgery performed on the fetus in the womb prior to birth). Prenatal Pediatrics has been practiced for more than 20 years. Also referred to as fetology and fetal medicine.

    Pulmonary hypertension
    Condition in which blood vessels in the lungs are constricted, causing decreased oxygen and right heart failure.

    Pulmonary hypoplasia
    Incomplete development of lung tissue due to space occupying lesion during fetal development (i.e., CCAM/CPAM, CDH).

    Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
    A procedure that uses radio waves to generate heat to solidify tissue or block vessels.

    Radiologist
    A specialist trained in the use of radiologic diagnostic techniques, such as X-rays.

    Selective Fetal Laser Photocoagulation (SFLP)
    A surgical procedure utilized with twin-twin transfusion syndrome.

    Shunt (fetal)
    A tube-like device placed into a fetus cavity (i.e., thorax, bladder), under ultrasound guidance, to allow drainage of the fluid into the amniotic cavity.

    Sonogram
    An image produced by ultrasound.

    Sonographer
    A person trained in the use of ultrasound.

    Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
    A fetal condition that occurs when twins share one placenta with vessel connection. Learn more about Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

    Uterus
    An organ in females for containing and nourishing the fetus during development prior to birth; also called the womb.

    Ultrasound
    A technique involving the formation of a two-dimensional image used for the examination and measurement of internal body structures and the detection of abnormalities/anomalies.

    Vesicostomy
    A surgical opening of the bladder to allow urine to drain.