The first cry, the tiny hands and the funny expressions of a newborn make every mother’s heart go aflutter. Becoming a parent is a wonderful feeling and the exhilaration at seeing the little bundle of joy for the first time can be an unforgettable experience. But, no one tells new parents what having a baby entails and sometimes it can be overwhelming for both the mother and father.
There is also new vocabulary to be learnt because pregnancy and having a baby have their own word associations and parents should be aware of them. Here are some words you need to know before and after the baby is born:
1. Doula: a non-medical caregiver who helps the mother during and after childbirth and gives her physical and emotional support.
2. Epidural: a type of anaesthesia that is offered to the mother-to-be during labour, which reduces the pain of childbirth. The medication is usually given in a particular area in the spine to numb the lower part of the body.
3. Lamaze – is a technique of breathing, relaxing and various exercises taught through classes to the pregnant woman, for a natural and less painful childbirth.
4. Confinement – the time or condition during which a pregnant woman goes through childbirth.
5. Babymoon – There are two meanings to this – it can be a holiday that the expectant couple take to spend time with each other before the baby comes or it can be the time just after the baby is born, which the parents spend exclusively with the little one
6. Shower – A function or party organised for a pregnant woman, where her friends and relatives give her a bunch of gifts.
7. Waters break – Just before labour begins, the fluid-filled amniotic sac that surrounds the baby will rupture and this is described as the waters breaking.
8. Meconium: the blackish-green substance that forms the first stool of an infant. It is dark and sticky, unlike regular faecal matter as it is made of mucus, amniotic fluid and other material that the baby ingests while inside the womb.
9. Paternity leave – A period of leave of absence from work that a father is allowed, before or just after his child is born.
10. Fontanelles: From the time of birth till the baby is around two years old, there are soft spots on the little one’s head which allow the head to pass through the birth canal, during the birthing process. These are called fontanelles. These become hardened in two years.
11. Baby blues – a condition that few new mothers may experience for a brief period, when they feel extreme sadness after having the baby.
12. The afterbirth – These are tissues and other substances, including the placenta, that come out of a woman’s body after she has given birth.
13. Latching – This means the way in which a newborn latches on to the areola (dark tissue around the nipple) of the mother’s breast, while having milk.
14. Colostrum – the yellowish substance produced by the mammary glands that precedes the flow of breast milk and is rich in antibodies and other valuable nutrients.
15. Birthing – Anything related to the birth of the little one
16. Stretch marks – Thin and fine lines that the mother develops on her stomach, waist and thighs as a result of the skin stretching, while carrying the baby.
17. Expressed milk – The milk that a mother pumps or expels from her breast manually or by using a breast pump. This can be stored hygienically and fed to the baby
18. Baby proof – It is a process in which you make a space safe for babies, so that they do not encounter potential hazards, at home or outside.
- Macmillan Dictionary
- Oxford Dictionary
- American Pregnancy Association