Teen Pregnancy & Parenting


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Here you'll find a glossary of terms that are used during pregnancy and parenting... Enjoy!

Abortion: A medical procedure which ends a pregnancy by expelling or removing a fetus from the uterus. The most common methods of abortion are D & C (dilatation and curettage), suction curettage, D & E (dilatation and evacuation), and saline (salt solution).

Abstain: To refuse to do a certain activity like choosing not to have sex until you are married.

Abstinence: Choosing to wait until marriage to have any kind of sexual relationship.

Acquired: Not inherited; something one "catches" or "gets" like a disease (e.g., AIDS).

Adolescence: The stage of life between childhood and adulthood when someone begins to grow to become an adult man or woman. The individual experiences a variety of physical, emotional, mental, and sexual changes.

Adoption: When a birth mother allows someone else to raise her child as if that child were born to the adoptive parent(s). When adoption occurs, those who adopt the child become legally responsible to provide for the needs of that child. Some unmarried, teenage mothers place their children up for adoption instead of raising them themselves.

Adultery: Sexual intercourse between a married man and a woman who is not his wife, or between a married woman and a man who is not her husband. (See unfaithfulness and infidelity.)

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome - a deadly, incurable condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). When the virus infects certain white blood cells (T-helper lymphocytes), eventually the infected person will not be able to defend against numerous opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis Pneumonia, and Kaposi's Sarcoma cancer. It is spread by sexual contact (vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, or hand (digital) sex), by injection with HIV-contaminated needles, by transfusions with infected blood, from infected mothers to their unborn during the pregnancy, birth or from breast feeding, and from tattoos, body piercing, and several other kinds of risky behaviors.

AIDS Dementia: The progressive loss of mental and nerve function ultimately leading to coma and death. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as it affects the brain and spinal cord.


Amniotic Sac: The tough, thin membrane portion of the placenta that surrounds the developing fetus and contains the amniotic fluid. (When a pregnant woman goes into "labor", this sac ruptures, and when this takes place, people often say the woman's "water broke".)

Anal Sex: The insertion of the penis into a sexual partner's anus (opening of the rectum). Individuals who engage in this kind of sexual activity run the risk of getting HIV or STD-infected fluid (vaginal fluid, seminal fluid, or blood) into their bodies thus becoming infected. Research indicates that not only is anal sex one of the high-risk behaviors for the transmission of the AIDS virus (HIV), but some evidence indicates that actually it may be more dangerous than vaginal sex when it comes to HIV-infection. (See sexual intercourse.)

Antibiotics: Drugs that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. These drugs are often effective in destroying certain bacterial STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

Arouse (sexually arouse): To sexually excite or stimulate oneself or someone else, i.e., to get "turned on".

"Bag Of Waters": Amniotic sac.

Birth: The process by which a baby comes out of the mother's uterus either by passing down the birth canal, past the cervix, and out the vagina (vaginal birth) or as a result of a surgical procedure called Cesarean section (C-section).

Birth Canal: The passage through which a child travels during birth. It consists of the cervix of the uterus, the vagina, and the vulva.

Birth-Control Pills ("the Pill"): An oral medication (pill) which contains synthetic hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which help prevent the release of an egg (ovum) from an ovary each month (i.e., ovulation). If ovulation does not occur, then pregnancy cannot take place. (See ovulation.)

Bisexual: An individual who is sexually attracted to members of both sexes.

Cancer: A group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and the spread of abnormal cells. Cancer often leads to a person's death. (NOTE: The most common STD in America, human papillomavirus (HPV), causes nearly all cancer of the cervix, which in turn kills more women than AIDS.)

Casual Contact: The kind of everyday touching between people that happens in families, at school, and at social events. Casual contact (e.g., shaking hands, holding hands, hugging, etc.) is different from the intimate contact involved in a sexual relationship.

Cervical cap: A small contraceptive device that fits over a woman's cervix to help prevent sperm cells from entering her uterus.

Cervix: The lower part or opening of the uterus.

Cesarean Section (C-Section): A surgical operation for delivering a baby. An incision is made in the abdomen of the pregnant woman and the baby is removed because vaginal birth is considered impossible or too dangerous.

Chancre: The sore that develops where the syphilis bacteria first infect the body. The sore will slowly disappear even though the infection continues to spread.

Chlamydia: The most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S. which is caused by a bacterium, Chlamydia Trachomatis. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Chromosomes: These rodlike, genetic structures are responsible for passing on inherited characteristics or traits such as eye and hair color from one generation (parents) to the next (children).

Circumcision: The surgical removal of the loose skin (foreskin) that covers the head of the penis.

"Climax": Orgasm.

Clitoris: A very sensitive organ which is located above the urethra on the woman's vulva. Its only purpose is to cause a woman to become sexually aroused.

Conception (Fertilization): The joining together of an ovum (egg) and a sperm cell. Conception usually occurs in a fallopian tube. That which is produced at the moment of conception is called a fertilized egg or zygote.

Condom (female): A soft, latex (plastic) tubelike devise that a woman inserts in her vagina to help prevent sperm cells from entering her uterus and possible causing a pregnancy to occur. The female condom is considered less effective than the male condom. (See condom (male).)

Condom (male) ("rubber"): A thin, protective tube, generally made out of latex, which is worn over the penis during sexual intercourse. Condoms are used in an effort to reduce the risk of pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as the AIDS virus (HIV). Their failure rate, as far as preventing pregnancies, is approximately 20% among teenagers (1 out of 5 times). However, the failure rate of a condom when it comes to preventing someone from getting infected with the AIDS virus or a sexually transmitted disease is higher because the viruses and bacteria which cause diseases are smaller than sperm cells which can lead to pregnancy.

Confidentiality: Keeping information secret or respecting the privacy of others.

Contraceptive: Any chemical substance or mechanical device that is used in an effort to prevent the sperm and egg (ovum) from joining together thus causing a pregnancy to occur. Condoms and the birth control pill are some of the most common forms of contraceptives. However, it is important to realize that the only 100% effective method of preventing a pregnancy is abstinence - choosing not to have any kind of sexual relationship for a period of time. (NOTE: People need to realize that no contraceptive method will protect them 100% of the time from the physical, emotional, mental, social, and moral consequences sex before marriage often cause. That is why they should choose to wait until marriage to have sex, i.e., choose abstinence.)

Contractions: The spasms of rhythmic, squeezing muscular activity that affect the walls of the uterus during labor. The purpose of contractions is to push the unborn child down the birth canal and out the vagina.

"Crabs" (pubic lice): Small parasites that live in the hair around the male or female genitals (pubic hair). These tiny "bugs" are usually passed from one person to another through some form of sexual contact.

C-Section: Cesarean Section.

D & C: (See Dilatation and Curettage.)

D & E: (See Dilatation and Evacuation.)

Dementia: A deterioration of one's mental abilities which causes emotional disturbances and insanity. The AIDS virus often destroys brain cells which cause this kind of mental illness.

Diagnose: To identify a medical problem by examination or analysis.

Digital Sex: Hand sex.

Dilatation and Curettage (D & C): A method of abortion in which the cervix (opening of the uterus) is dilated enough to allow the insertion of an instrument (a spoon-shaped knife called a curette) which is used to scrape the wall of the uterus to remove the fetus.

Dilatation and Evacuation (D & E): A method of abortion generally used between the 12th and 15th week of a pregnancy. The cervix is dilated (stretched open) sufficiently to allow instruments to be inserted in the uterus to dismember the fetus, and then the remains are removed by suction.

Egg: The female reproductive cell; ovum. (When a sperm cell from the male joins with an egg cell from a female, the egg is said to have been fertilized, and the conception of a new human being has occurred. According to Dr. Joe McIlhaney, Jr., "an egg lives about twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours" (1001 Health-Care Questions Women Ask, p. 163-164).

Ejaculation: The release of seminal fluid through the penis.

ELISA: A laboratory test of blood commonly used to detect the presence of antibodies which attempt to fight off the AIDS virus (HIV). ELISA is short for enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay. This test is often called an "AIDS test".

Embryo: A term used to refer to an unborn child during the first three months following conception. (After the first three months it is called a fetus. However, some medical journals use the term embryo to refer to an unborn child from conception through the eighth week rather than the third month.)

Endometrium: The lining of the uterus. (The zygote - the cell produced when a sperm fertilizes an egg (ovum) - is carried down the fallopian tube into the uterus. Here it implants into the endometrium to be sustained and protected for approximately nine months. (See placenta and umbilical cord.)

Epididymis: A thin tightly coiled tube about 20 feet long located at the back of the testicles. Sperm are produced in the testicles, and then they pass into the epididymis where they slowly mature until they are capable of fertilizing an egg.

Estrogen: A hormone produced in increased amounts by the ovaries at puberty. Estrogen is responsible for the development of the breasts, menstruation, and other changes which take place in the female body as it becomes capable of reproducing children.

Extramarital Sex: Sexual intercourse with someone other than your own husband or wife.

Fallopian Tube: A slender tube that transports the egg from the ovary to the uterus. It is here that conception (fertilization) normally takes place. (See fertilization.)

Fertile: The ability to conceive a child.

Fertilization (Conception): The union or joining together of an egg (ovum) and a sperm cell. Fertilization usually takes place in the fallopian tubes. The fertilized cell, which is called a zygote, travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus where it implants in the lining of the uterus.

Fetus: An unborn child developing in the uterus (womb) from the end of the third month until birth. (See embryo.)

Fidelity: Being faithful and true to a partner (e.g., one's husband or wife) by not having sex with anyone else.

Fornication: Any form of sexual intercourse between two unmarried individuals or between individuals who may be married, but not to each other.

Gay: A male homosexual. (See homosexual.)

Gene: A part of a chromosome which determines hereditary traits in a child. (See chromosomes.)

Genital Herpes: A sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the Herpes simplex virus (Herpesvirus Hominis, Type 2). The infected person develops painful sores and/or blisters in the genital area. It is not curable, and may cause serious complications in newborn infants who are born to infected women.

Genitals: The external male and female sex organs.

Germ: A virus, bacterium, yeast, or fungus which can cause a disease.

Gestation: The period of time from conception (fertilization) to birth during which the developing fetus is growing and developing in the uterus. Gestation normally lasts around 270 days or approximately nine months.

"Going All The Way": Having sexual intercourse.

Gonads: The sex glands of males (testes or testicles) and females (ovaries) that send out hormones which cause growth and changes in the body.

Gonorrhea: The second most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) which is caused by a bacteria known as Neisseria Gonorrhea. This STD is most frequently transmitted during sexual intercourse, but an infected woman may also transmit gonorrhea to her newborn baby during birth. It can be cured with medication (antibiotics).

Hand Sex (hand-to-genital contact or digital sex): Using one's hand or finger to touch the genitals of another person who does not have on any clothes. If someone engaging in this kind of sexual activity gets HIV or STD-infected fluid (vaginal fluid, seminal fluid, or blood) into his or her body, it is possible for that person to become infected. Therefore, this kind of sexual activity is considered potentially dangerous.

Hemophilia: A hereditary condition in which the blood does not clot normally. Hemophiliacs often need blood transfusions, and if the blood they receive is infected with the AIDS virus (HIV), they will become infected and eventually die of AIDS.

Herpes: See genital herpes.

Heterosexual: Sexual attraction or desire for those of the opposite sex.

"High-Risk Behavior": Actions which are particularly dangerous to one's health. For example, sexual intercourse and IV (intravenous) drug use are "high-risk behaviors", because those who do these things put themselves at risk for contracting the AIDS virus (HIV) or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Homosexual: A sexual attraction or desire for those of the same sex. (Male homosexuals are sometimes referred to as "gays", while female homosexuals are sometimes referred to as "lesbians".)

Hooker: A prostitute - a woman who is paid to have sex. Prostitution is illegal in the U.S.

Hormones: Chemical substances that are released into the blood stream and travel to other organs and tissues to cause growth and to control certain body functions. The male sex hormone is called testosterone and the female sex hormone is estrogen. (See testosterone and estrogen.)

HPV: Human Papillomavirus.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): The highly infectious virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). (See AIDS.)

Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A disease that can be transmitted sexually which often causes genital warts to appear. Though there is no medical cure for human papillomavirus, the warts can be removed surgically or by the application of a medication called podophyllin. This sexually transmitted disease is the most common one in the United States, and it is the cause of nearly all cancer of the cervix which kills more American woman each year that AIDS.

Hypothalamus: A part of the brain which sends signals to the pituitary gland which in turn releases hormones to the gonads (sex glands).

Hysterectomy: The surgical removal of the uterus.

Hysterotomy: A form of abortion used to end pregnancies which are beyond 16 weeks. This procedure involves surgically opening up the uterus and removing the dead fetus. Hysterotomies are only performed after other methods of abortion have failed. (See abortion, saline abortion, D & C, and D & E.)

Immune System: The bodily system that acts to defend the body against attacks by germs which cause various diseases. The AIDS virus (HIV) destroys the immune system preventing the body from fighting off diseases, and thus allowing the body to become sick and eventually to die.

Implantation: The attachment of a fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus. Generally this occurs about six days after fertilization. The developing embryo attaches to the uterine wall where the placenta later develops supplying the fetus (unborn child) with everything it needs to survive.

Impotence: A male is considered impotent if he cannot develop an erection firm or long enough to allow him to insert his penis into the woman's vagina. A woman is considered impotent if she has a physical or emotional problem that does not allow a man's penis to enter her vagina.

Impotent: (See impotence.)

Incest: Sexual intercourse between close relatives - parent-child, stepparent-child, brother-sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. (See sexual abuse; rape.)

Incubation: The period of time between the infection of an individual by some germ and the actual manifestation of the disease it causes. For example, the incubation period for those who have been infected with the AIDS virus (HIV) and the time when they begin to show symptoms of AIDS may be from one to fifteen years.

Infatuation: Attraction or passion for someone because of what he or she looks like or how that person makes someone feel. It is often confused with genuine love which is more concerned about giving or sharing than with getting or receiving. Infatuation is more self-centered than other-person-centered.

Infertile: (See infertility.)

Infertility: A condition in which a person or couple is unable to become pregnant (conceive). (See sterility.)

Infidelity (Adultery): Not being faithful or true to one's husband or wife by having sexual intercourse with someone else.

Intimate or Close Friendship: A relationship with a friend that is on a higher level of commitment than just a casual friendship or an acquaintance. Friends in this category are very special and rare.

Intrauterine Device: See IUD.

IUD (Intrauterine device): A small device that is inserted into a woman's uterus to help prevent pregnancy. It usually remains in place until it is removed by a medical professional.

IV or Intravenous: Something (like a drug) which is injected directly into a blood vein.

Kaposi's Sarcoma: A rare type of skin cancer that is fairly common to AIDS patients.

Labor: The birth process of moving the unborn child from the uterus to the outside world. The muscles of the uterus contract, thus pushing the baby down the birth canal and out the vagina.

Lesbian: A female homosexual.

"Living Together": When a man and woman live in the same home but are not legally married to each other. Generally they are also sexually active.

Love: Though this word is misused in many different ways and almost impossible to define, genuine love between two people involves a commitment to do that which is best for the other individual. Thus genuine love is unselfish, respectful, kind, considerate, polite, consistent, and giving. It is always eager to serve rather than to be served. (NOTE: When someone's own desires continue to be more important than someone else's (perhaps a boyfriend's or girlfriend's), then it is probably not genuine love. It may be infatuation or lust.) (See infatuation and lust.)

Lust: A self-centered attitude which causes an individual to seek to gratify his or her own sexual desires often at the expense of another person's interests or desires. For example, when an individual tries to pressure someone else to be sexually intimate, it is usually a sign of lust rather than genuine love.

Lymphocytes: White blood cells which fight diseases. (The AIDS virus (HIV) destroys certain kinds of lymphocytes (T4-helper lymphocytes) which help determine how other immune system cells are to respond to germs which appear within the human body.)

"Making Love": Generally it refers to the act of sexual intercourse even though many people who "make love" do not truly love the other person. He or she simply wants to satisfy his or her sexual desires.

"Making Out": Passionate kissing "above the shoulders".

Malignant: Cancerous (See cancer.)

Marriage: The state in which a man and woman have become husband and wife.

Mastectomy: The surgical removal of a breast generally due to cancerous tissue. (See cancer.)

Masturbation: The act whereby an individual sexually stimulates himself or herself until he or she gets sexually "excited" (orgasm).

Media: The plural word for medium which is often used to refer to various forms of communication like television, radio, music, movies, videos, magazines, and newspapers.

Menarche: A term used to refer to a young woman's first menstrual "period".

Menopause: The stage when menstruation stops. The follicles in the ovaries stop producing eggs (ova) and less estrogen is produced. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

Menstrual Cycle: Each menstrual cycle is made up of a complex series of events that occur in a periodic fashion. The two primary purposes of a menstrual cycle are (1) the development and release of an egg (ovum) which may lead to fertilization, and (2) the preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg and allow pregnancy to continue. (See ovulation and menstruation.)

Menstruation: The process by which the uterine lining is shed as a bloody discharge. This process generally takes place every 26 to 30 days and lasts for 3 to 7 days. The uterus will accumulate blood and uterine lining in preparation for a fertilized egg (zygote) to implant in the wall of the uterus. However, if the egg released by an ovary is not fertilized, the lining break loose and pass out of the woman's body through the vagina approximately 12 to 16 days after ovulation. Often this process is referred to as a woman's "period". (See ovulation and menstrual cycle.)

Miscarriage (Spontaneous or natural abortion): The death of the fetus and the passage of tissue and blood from the uterus before the 22nd week of pregnancy or before viability (the ability to survive outside the uterus without artificial support).

Monogamous: Being committed to one's husband or wife to such an extent that the individual never has sex with anyone else. (NOTE: If a husband or wife only have sex with each other (are monogamous) and neither of them is infected with a sexually transmitted disease, there is no way either of them will ever get a sexually transmitted disease.)

Myth: An idea or belief that is not based on fact.

Nocturnal Emission: An involuntary release of semen during a nighttime dream. It is the body's way of expelling excess seminal fluid and is a normal occurrence for young males especially during puberty. It is sometimes referred to as a "wet dream". (See seminal fluid.)

Nonoxynol-9: A common spermicide (chemical that kills sperm cells). Some condoms are coated with nonoxynol-9.

Opportunistic Illness: A disease or illness that occurs because the immune system is not working properly. (NOTE: When the AIDS virus (HIV) has severely damaged a person's immune system, the individual will begin to "catch" all kinds of opportunistic illnesses, and generally, one or more of these diseases will lead to his or her death.)

Oral Sex (oral-genital contact): When someone's mouth comes in contact with another person's sexual organ (vagina or penis). If the person engaging in this type of sexual activity gets HIV or STD-infected fluid (vaginal fluid, seminal fluid, or blood) into his or her mouth, it is possible that person will become infected. Therefore, this kind of sexual activity is considered potentially dangerous.

Orgasm: The climax or peak of sexual excitement.

Ovaries: The reproductive organs of a woman which produce the female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and release the egg cells (ova). These two almond-shaped sex organs are located on either side of the uterus. If an egg is fertilized, pregnancy has begun and a genetically unique individual is developing.

Ovulation: The process by which an egg (ovum) is expelled or released by an ovary. Usually this happens only once during a woman's menstrual cycle which is approximately 28 days long. Generally ovulation takes place somewhere near the middle (around the 14th day) of the menstrual cycle.

Ovum: An egg cell.

Pap Smear: A test performed with some scrapings from a woman's cervix or vagina to determine whether or not any cancerous cells are present. (NOTE: Women who have human papillomavirus (HPV) are to get regular Pap smear tests, because HPV is the leading cause of cancer of the cervix and vagina.) (See human papillomavirus.)

Peer: A person who is close or equal to another person in age, skill, or status. For example, a junior high or high school student's peers primarily consist of other teenagers who attend the same school.

Peer Pressure: The influence that friends exert on an individual. It may be positive (good) pressure or it may be negative (bad) pressure depending on the circumstances.

Penis: The external male reproductive organ used in sexual intercourse.

Period: Menstruation

Petting (sexual touching): The fondling (touching) of the sexual parts of someone else's body for the purpose of sexually arousal and excitement. The touching can occur with the clothes on or off. Because this is such an integral part of sexual intercourse itself, many believe petting should not occur unless both individuals are married to one another. As a matter of fact, sexual touching with the clothes off can lead to infection with a sexually transmitted disease, and therefore, it is considered a type of sexual activity. (See hand sex.)

Pituitary Gland: This gland releases hormones into the bloodstream which travel to the gonads (ovaries or testicles). The release of sex hormones (testosterone (male) and estrogen (female) from the pituitary gland cause puberty to occur.

Placenta: The organ produced by the fetus (unborn child) that attaches to the mother's uterus so nourishment and oxygen can be transferred to the fetus during pregnancy. It is also the means by which the unborn child is able to discard waste. The placenta is expelled at birth.

PMS (premenstrual syndrome): A term used to refer to the symptoms some woman experience prior to their menstrual period. The symptoms may include cramps, depression, mood swings, swelling, breast tenderness and the like.

Pneumocystis Pneumonia: A rare kind of pneumonia (a lung disease) common in AIDS patients. (NOTE: Over 60% of AIDS patients get this disease.)

Pornography: Writings, photographs, or pictures which are designed to arouse sexual desires. Sexually explicit books or magazines, many R-rated movies, and all X-rated movies are forms of pornography.

Pregnancy: The period of time from the moment of conception (when an egg cell is fertilized by a sperm cell) to birth. A normal pregnancy last approximately 270 days, and is divided into three "trimesters" lasting approximately three months each. (Three different terms are used to describe the unborn child during this time of development in the uterus: zygote, embryo, and fetus.)

Premarital Sex: Having sexual intercourse before marriage.

Premenstrual Syndrome: See PMS.

Procreation: Producing or having children.

Progesterone: The female sex hormone produced by the ovary after ovulation. During the pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone.

Promiscuous: Engaging in sexual intercourse with numerous individuals with little or no thought of genuine love and concern for their sexual partners. Promiscuous individuals usually show little or no precaution when it comes to sex, so they greatly increase their chances of experiencing all kinds of problems such as unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV infection, and serious emotional, mental, social, and moral problems.

Prostitute: A person who engages in sexual intercourse for pay. Slang words often used for a prostitute are "whore", "hooker", "slut", or "harlot".

Puberty: A stage of sexual development during which a person's reproductive organs are in the process of becoming mature. This stage begins in the base of the brain in a center called the hypothalamus. (See pituitary gland.)

Pubic Region: The area around the external sex organs of males and females.

Queer: A slang word sometimes used to refer to a person who is homosexual.

Rape: The act by which someone is forced to engage in a sexual relationship against his or her will. Rape is against the law in every state, and in California, it is legally defined as "sexual intercourse by the use or threat of force or violence and against the victim's will or without the victim's consent". Rape is an act of violence, and those who are victims of rape should report this crime just like any other crime. Therefore, if a rape has occurred, it is important to tell someone in authority - a parent, relative, police officer, teacher, counselor, priest, or minister. (See sexual abuse.)

Rectum: The last part of the large intestine which ends at the anus. (See anal intercourse.)

Refusal Skills: Personal relationship skills which allow an individual to refuse (say "no") to something the individual does not want to do, and yet do it in a way that hopefully does not hurt or damage the relationship.

Reproductive Organs: The organs in both men and women which allow them to contribute to the creation of a new human being. The reproductive organs of the female include ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina. The reproductive organs of the male include testicles, seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and penis.

Saline Abortion: This method of abortion is used between the 15th and 26th week of a pregnancy. In this procedure a long needle is inserted through the abdomen into the amniotic sac which surrounds the fetus. The fluid is removed through the needle and replaced by the saline (salt) solution. After a few minutes to twelve hours, the uterus begins contractions, and the placenta will be delivered along with or after the fetus. (Also see D & C, D & E, and hysterotomy.)

Saliva: The watery fluid produced by glands in someone's mouth.

Scrotum: The sac containing the testicles or male sex glands which hangs behind the penis.

Secondary Virginity: Choosing to abstain (avoid sexual activity) after physical virginity has already been lost. Simply put, secondary virginity means someone has decided to stop having sex and wait until he or she is married to have sex again.

Self-Control: The ability to control one's own behavior; being able to set limits or standards and live by them. When someone chooses abstinence or secondary virginity, he or she is showing a lot of sexual self-control. (See abstinence and secondary virginity.)

Semen: A mixture of fluids and sperm which are produced by the reproductive organs of the male and released during ejaculation. Semen is composed of fluid from the seminal vesicle and prostate gland along with sperm, the male sex cell.

Seminal Fluid: Fluid produced in the seminal vesicle of the male body. (See semen.)

Seminal Vesicle: A part of the male reproductive system which is located behind the prostate gland. Seminal fluid is produced in the seminal vesicle. (See semen.)

Sex: Generally this word is used to denote the gender of a person - whether that individual is male or female. However, the word "sex" is often used to refer to any kind of sexual intercourse - vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, or hand sex. (See sexual intercourse.)

Sexual Abuse: An act by which an individual is forced to participate in some kind of sexual activity which is likely to cause physical, psychological, or emotional harm. All acts of sexual abuse should be reported to those in authority - a parent, relative, police officer, teacher, counselor, priest, or minister. (See rape.)

Sexual Intercourse: The physical, sexual joining together of a man and a woman in which the male's penis is inserted into the female's vagina. This type of sexual relationship sometimes leads to pregnancy if a sperm cell from the male joins with an egg cell (ovum) from the female. This kind of sex is often referred to as vaginal sex, and cannot only cause a pregnancy to occur, but it can also cause someone to become infected with the AIDS virus (HIV) or any sexually transmitted disease (STD) the other person has. Because it is the most intimate expression of love and affection, and it affects individuals physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and morally, it should be reserved ("saved") for those who are married to one another. Furthermore, in virtually every state in America, it is illegal for anyone to have sex with someone under the age of 18 unless they are married to one another. (See vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, statutory rape, abstinence, and secondary virginity.)

Sexual Touching: Petting.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD): A disease that is transmitted through sexual contact. There are more than twenty-five (25) kinds of STDs or venereal diseases.

"Sleeping Around": Slang for having sex with a variety of individuals.

"Sleeping Together": Slang for having sexual intercourse with someone.

Sperm (Spermatozoa): Male reproductive cells which, when united with an egg, marks the beginning of a new human life. When a sperm cell joins with an egg, fertilization or conception has occurred. Twenty-three chromosomes from the male (sperm) and twenty-three chromosomes from the female (egg or ovum) join to create a genetically unique individual. Sperm are produced in the testicles of the male body, mature in the epididymus, and then are stored in the seminal vesicles until ejaculation. According to Dr. Landrum Shettles, "sperm rarely survive for more than forty-eight hours inside the female (body)" (Rites Of Life, p. 33).

Spermatozoa: Sperm.

Spermicide: A chemical agent that kills sperm cells. It is usually in the form of a gel, cream, or foam. Nonoxynol-9 is one of the most common spermicides.

Statutory Rape: In most states, statutory rape or unlawful sexual intercourse refers to any kind of sexual activity with someone who is a minor (usually a person under the age of 18) unless the individuals are married to one another.

STD: Sexually transmitted disease.

Sterility: The inability to produce (children. The term can apply to both a male's inability to participate in conception or a woman's inability to have a child.

Sterilization: A procedure which generally causes permanent birth control. (See vasectomy and tubal ligation.)

Suction Abortion: The most common method of abortion performed between the 6th and 12th week of pregnancy. The cervix is dilated (stretched open) with curved metal rods, and a narrow plastic tube is then inserted into the uterus. The outer end of the tube is connected to a suction machine which sucks out the fetal and placental tissue into a vacuum bottle. After the suction, some doctors scrape the inside of the uterus with a metal curette (a spoon-shaped surgical knife) to make sure all the tissue is removed from the wall of the uterus.

Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral shaped bacteria named Treponema Pallidum. It is transmitted almost exclusively by sexual contact, but can be acquired by kissing an infected person. Currently syphilis is a rather rare disease.

T-Cell: A type of lymphocyte which determines how other cells in the immune system are to respond when a disease infects the body. (See lymphocytes.)

Testicles (Testes): The two male sex glands located in the scrotum, a bag which hangs behind the penis. The testicles produce both testosterone and sperm.

Testosterone: The male hormone produced by the testicles (testes). This hormone is responsible for the development of the secondary sex characteristics that include male hair growth pattern, rapid muscular and skeletal growth, and the development of the penis and testicles which gives a male the ability to become a father.

Transmit: To pass from one person to another, e.g., a person infected with the AIDS virus (HIV) can transmit the virus to another person through some kind of sexual contact.

Trichomoniasis: An infection caused by a microscopic organism called Trichomonas vaginalis. This disease is a sexually transmitted disease which is characterized by a frothy, green discharge that causes a great deal of itching.

Tubal Ligation: A surgical procedure which closes off the fallopian tubes making it virtually impossible for pregnancy to occur, because the sperm and egg cells are unable to join together.

Tubal Pregnancy: A pregnancy in which the embryo (unborn child) is growing inside a fallopian tube. If the pregnancy continues to develop, the fallopian tube could rupture, and the pregnant woman could die.

Umbilical Cord: The cord that connects the placenta to the fetus at the umbilicus ("belly button"). The umbilical cord circulates blood through the placenta so the fetus receives oxygen and nourishment from the mother. It also transfers waste products from the fetus to the mother for elimination.

Unfaithfulness: Not being faithful or true to one's husband or wife by having a sexual relationships with someone else. (See infidelity and adultery.)

Unlawful sexual intercourse: Statutory rape.

Unprotected Sexual Intercourse: Sexual intercourse without the use of some form of contraception like a latex condom. (NOTE: Condoms have never been shown to protect 100% of the time when used to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or HIV infection let alone the emotional, mental, social, and moral consequences sex often cause.)

Urethra: In the male, a tube running from the bottom of the bladder to the tip of the penis through which both urine and semen pass. In the female, the urethra runs from the bladder to the vaginal opening and carries only urine.

Uterus (Womb): Hollow muscular organ in the female which houses and feeds the fetus (unborn child) throughout the pregnancy.

Vaccine: A medicine which produces an immunity to a particular disease by generating antibodies which serve to destroy the disease. Some scientists believe it might be possible to develop a vaccine to protect people from getting the AIDS virus even though medical science probably will never find a cure for AIDS.

Vagina: Part of the female reproductive system used during sexual intercourse. It is a curved canal extending from the vulva (the external genital organs of a female) to the uterus.

Vaginal Secretions: Various types of secretions (release of fluids) from the vagina. Some secretions occur just before a "period" (menstruation) or at the time of ovulation. These are considered normal. However, secretions that smell, cause itching, or are yellow or green in color may be signs of some kind of sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Vaginal Sex: The insertion of a male's penis into a female's vagina for the purpose of sexual pleasure and/or human reproduction. This is the typical kind of sexual relationship between a man and woman. If a person engaging in this kind of sexual activity gets HIV or STD-infected fluid (vaginal fluid, seminal fluid, or blood) into his or her body, it is very likely that person will become infected. Therefore, this kind of sexual activity is considered potentially dangerous. (See sexual intercourse.)

Vas Deferens: The tubes that carry sperm from the epididymis to the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles.

Vasectomy: A surgical procedure on a male which closes off the vas deferens tubes thus preventing sperm from leaving the body during ejaculation. (See vas deferens.)

VD: Venereal disease.

Venereal Disease (VD): Diseases that are spread by sexual activity. Such diseases are now generally referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. (See sexually transmitted disease.)

Viability: A fetus' (unborn child's) ability to survive outside the uterus without artificial support.

Virgin: An individual who has not engaged in any kind of sexual relationship - vaginal, oral, anal, or hand sex. (See virginity.)

Virginity: The state of being a virgin - someone, either male or female, who has never chosen to engage in any kind of sexual relationship. Once a person has had sex, he or she is no longer a virgin. This is why someone's virginity is such a special, "prized possession" he or she should hold onto until marriage. (See also secondary virginity and abstinence.)

Virus: A tiny submicroscopic infective agent that can make a person sick.

Vulva: The external genital organs of a female.

Western Blot Test: A laboratory test used to detect antibodies which fight the AIDS virus (HIV).

"Wet Dreams": Nocturnal emissions.

White Blood Cells: Cells which are part of the immune system. (See T-Cells, lymphocytes, and immune system.)

Whore: Prostitute.

Womb: Uterus.

Yeast: A type of fungus that often appears in the vaginal region of a female body.

Glossary for Pregnancy and Parenting!
Pregnancy Terms and Meanings:

Alphafetoprotein (AFP) Testing
AFP is the major serum protein of the embryo and early fetus. Detection of AFP in maternal serum forms the basis of maternal serum AFP screening for both neural-tube defects (elevated levels) and Down syndrome (low levels).

Withdrawal of amniotic fluid, usually performed by inserting through the abdominal wall a needle used to determine foetus maturity, chromosome aberration, genetic abnormalities or the sex of the foetus. Amniocentesis is commonly performed after the 15th week.

Amniotic Fluid
The normally clear fluid surrounding the developing foetus, liquid that increases in quantity as pregnancy advances until near terms.

The most common cranial defect, where the brain is replace by amorphous neural tissue and the skull does not form. Best detected in the second trimester of pregnancy, anencephaly is diagnosed with virtually 100 percent accuracy.

Total or partial loss of sensation, with or without loss of consciousness, induced by the administration of a drug to manage the labor, delivery and the phenomena following childbirth to complete involution of the uterus.

Braxton Hicks Contractions
Uterine contractions described as irregular and non-rhythmical, occurring during pregnancy.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (known as CVS)
A high-tech approach to prenatal diagnosis of birth defects, CVS is a technique in which a few placental cells are extracted via a fine hollow needle inserted into the womb. DNA extracted from these cells is subsequently examined for genetic defects. Because CVS can be performed as early as the eight week of pregnancy, it allows women more time to consider the option of terminating the pregnancy than does amniocentesis, which is commonly performed after the 15th week.

Cleft lips / palate
An cleft lip may be an upper split, fissured or breached lip, whereas a cleft palate may be perforated. A cleft lip can either be isolated or associated with a cleft palate. Cleft lips and cleft palates are among the most frequent congenital deformities.

Congenital cardiac abnormalities
Heart disease present at birth; the heart can be departing from the usual position, structure or condition.

Cord Prolapse
Same definition as Prolapsed Cord

Down's syndrome
Down's individuals have a third extra non-sex, or autosomal, number 21 chromosomes, whereas normal human chromosomes come in homologous pairs. As a result, Down's individuals are marked by various degree of mental retardation and have a short flattened skull, slanting eyes, unusual external ears, slow bone growth and other anomalies. Males with Down's syndrome are not fertile. Also called Mongolism; Trisomy 21.

Eclampsia (see also Hypertension, proteinuria, Preeclampsia)
Hypertension accompanied by generalized pitting edema or proteinuria after the 20th week of gestation.

Ectopic Pregnancy (+ see Tubal Pregnancy)
Pregnancy resulting from the implantation of the fertilized ovum in a site other than the normal one in the uterine cavity. More than 95% of ectopic pregnancies involve the oviduct (fallopian tube), but tubal pregnancy is not synonymous with ectopic gestation.

Edema (also Oedema)
Swelling of any part of the body due to collection of fluid in the intercellular spaces of tissues. The accumulation of fluid may amount to a liter or so and is caused by an increase in venous pressure below the level of the extended uterus, resulting in partial occlusion of blood pressure. Clearly demonstrable pitting edema of the ankles and legs is seen in a substantial proportion of pregnant women, especially swollen at the end of the day. (See also pitting edema, preeclampsia and varicose veins.)

Edema of preeclampsia is pathological and not just dependent; it usually involves the face and hands and persists even after arising. A useful indicator of nondependent edema is a woman's complaint that her rings have become too tight.

The epidural is situated upon or over the dura matter. Dura: A tough, fibrous, whitish membrane; the outermost of the 3 membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Extradural: located outside of the dura matter.

Epidural Anestesia
Anesthesia produced by the injection of an anesthetic agent into the extradural space.

Congenital hernia at the umbilicus, either into the umbilical cord, or through a defect of the abdominal wall (omphalocele proper). Also called umbilical eventration; amniotic hernia).

Fetal Echocardiography
The use of an ultrasonic apparatus that sends sound impulses toward the walls of the heart, which in turn bounce or echo the sounds back; the patterns produced are graphically displayed for interpretation; used for determining the movement patterns of the heart and its valves, chamber size, wall thickness, and the presence of pericardial fluid of the foetus.

Folic Acid
Folic Acid is a B Vitamin which has been found to be very important in preventing neural tube defect like Spina Bifida. The Spina Bifida Association of Canada recommends that all women of childbearing age take a supplement of 0,4 mg at least one month prior to conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy-induced glucose intolerence limited to the pregnant condition.

Glucose Tolerance Test
Test for diabetes based on the response to a glucose load.

Group A and Group B Strep (See Streptococci)
- Hepatic pregnancy / Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) Hepatitis is the most common serious liver disease encountered in pregnant women. 5 distinct types exist; symptoms may precede jaundice by 1 to 2 weeks. These include nausea and vomiting, headache and malaise. Hepatitis E has a high mortality rate in pregnant women.
- HAV: Low-grade fever is more common with hepatitis A, which is transmitted by intestinal and oral routes; may occur sporadically or in epidemics. Also called infectious hepatitis.
- HBV: spread by transfusion of infected blood, use of contaminated needles, the sexual route, or during childbirth. Also called serum hepatitis.

Herpes Gestationis
A rare skin disease of pregnancy. Despite its name, this disease has no relationship to the herpes virus infection, but rather was named based on the clinical feature of herpetiform blisters.

Herpes simplex
An acute localized eruption of painful blisters, caused by herpes-virus 1 and 2; once established, the infection remains in the body and recurs at intervals with complete healing of the eruption between episodes; reappearance may be precipitated by emotional stress, febrile disease, local truma or menstruation.

High Risk Pregnancy
In a risk-scoring system, scores of 1 to 10 are given to a variety of pregnancy factors, including preexisting medical illness, previous poor pregnancy performance, evidence of maternal undernutrition, socioeconomic status, reproductive history, daily habits, and current pregnancy complications. Women with scores of 10 or more are considered at high risk for preterm delivery.

Hydatidiform mole (or Molar Pregnancy)
Characterized by abnormalities of the chorionic villi, consisting of varying degrees of trophoblastic proliferation and edema of villous stroma. Moles usually occupy the uterine cavity; however, they rarely may be located in the oviduct and even the ovary. The presence or absence of a fetus or embryo has been used to classify them into complete and partial moles. The foetus of a partial mole will typically have multiple congenital malformations and growth retardation, and it is nonviable.

Excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain (internal h.) or in the subarachnoid spaces (external h.), causing enlargement of the head and compression of the brain.

Hypertension in Pregnancy (see also Eclampsia, Preeclampsia, and proteinuria)
High blood pressure during gestation.

Intrauterine growth retardation (Ref.: Severe intrauterine growth retardation)
Categorize an infant whose birthweight is clearly below average and usually below the 10th percentile for its gestational age. Also referred to as «fetal growth retardation».

An abnormal, white or yellowish discharge from the vagina, containig mucus and pus cells.

The bloody discharge from the uterus following childbirth.

Molar Pregnancy (see Hydatidiform mole)

MSAFP/AFP Test (see Alphafetoprotein)

Multiple Gestation or Multiple Pregnancy
The simultaneous presence of two or more developing fetuses.

Neural-tube Defects
Neural-tube defects result from failure of tubal closure by day 26 to 28 of embryonic life. This produces a spectrum of cranial and spinal canal defects that range from anencephaly to very slight vertebral defects. Also see Folic Acid.

Obstetrical Anesthesia (see Anesthesia, Epidural and Epidural anesthesia)

Oedema (see Edema)

The area bounded by the pubis, the coccyx, and the thighs.

Pitting edema (see Edema)
Condition in which pressure causes indentations in the skin; those remain for a time after pressure is released.

The organ within the pregnant uterus through which the fetus derives its nourishment; at term it averages 1/6 the weight of the foetus; it is disk-shaped, about 2.5 cm thick, and 17.5 cm in diameter.

Placenta Previa
Condition in which the placenta is implanted in the lower segment of the uterus and covers the cervical opening, partly or completely.

Post-Term Pregnancy
Pregnancy usually last 280 days or 9 calendar months. When gestation is prolonged beyond term, some fetuses, perhaps the majority, continue to grow and some may achieve a remarkably large size. Those infants who do so have been referred to by some as «postmature» as well as «postterm».

Preeclampsia is diagnosed by development of hypertension plus proteinuria, or edema that is generalized and overt, or both. Only rarely are does preeclampsia develop earlier than 20 weeks' gestation, and then usually in cases of hydatidiform mole or appreciable molar degenaration.

Although it more commonly affects teenagers or those older than 35, preeclampsia in the older woman is more likely pregnancy aggravated hypertension.

Preterm Birth
When the act of being born occurs before the 38th week of pregnancy.

Preterm Labor
Labor (parturition) occurring before the 38th week of pregnancy.

Prolapsed Cord
Describes the slipping down of the umbilical cord from its normal position.

Prolapsed Uterus
Falling of the uterus into the vagina due to stretching and laxity of its supporting structures.

Excretion of protein in the urine in excess of the normal daily amount; an average-size healthy individual normally excretes up to 100 mg of protein per day.

Proteinuria is an important sign of preeclampsia, to the point that the diagnosis is questionable in its absence. Proteinuria is defined as 300 mg or more of urinary protein per 24 hours or more in at least two random urine specimens collected 6 or more hours apart. (See also preeclampsia)

Relating to the first few weeks following childbirth.

RH isoimmunization
The development of a significant concentration of specific antibody stimulated by the presence of antigens from another individual of the same species, as when fetal cells or other proteins gain access to the maternal circulation, with resulting maternal immunization to the paternal antigens present in the fetal material.

Relating to the hip or ischium, or to any structure in its vicinity (like the sciatic nerve).

Any condition characterized by pain along the course of the sciatic nerve; usually a neuritis and generally caused by mechanical compression or irritation of the 5th lumbar spinal root.

Severe intrauterine growth retardation
Severe case of intrauterine growth retardation (see this definition).

Spina bifida
Congenital defect in which part of the vertebral column is absent; it allows the spinal membranes and sometimes the spinal cord to protrude. (See also Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defect)

Streptococci - Group A and Group B (referred to as Strep)
Rarely encountered today, the infections caused by «Streptococcus pyogenes» are particularly virulent. A streptococci is a common and ubiquitous group of bacteria, are among the many microbes that normally inhabit the human body; they are also capable of causing serious, even life-threatening infections.
- In Group A: the organism produces a toxic shock-like syndrome in expectant mothers that is highly fatal; prompt penicillin treatment may be lifesaving.
- In Group B: asymptomatic carriage is common in women, especially in the vagina and rectum. The organism has been implicated in several adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm labor, prematurely ruptured membranes, fetal and noenatal infections.

Disease caused by infection with toxoplasma gondii; it may resemble a mild cold or infectious mononucleosis in adults; a disseminated form may lead to hepatitis, pneumonitis (...); an infected pregnant women can spread the disease to her unborn child, causing eye or brain damage or even death. Eating raw meat from infected animals is the most common way in which the disease is acquired.

Tubal Pregnancy (Ref.: Ectopic Pregnancy)
Implantation and development of the fertilized ovum in a uterine (fallopian) tube.

Ultrasound (also known as Echography, Sonographic technique, Ultrasonography)
Biophysical technique measuring the intermittent high-frequency sound waves not perceptible to the human ear. They can supply, by measuring the reflection of ultrasonic waves directed into the tissue, vital information about the status of the fetus, with no known risks from ultrasound.

Umbilical Cord
The structure connecting the placenta with the umbilicus (navel) of the foetus; it contains two arteries and one vein coiled around each other; in the newborn, it measures about 61.4 cm in length and 12.7 mm in diameter.

Umbilical cord abnormalities
Marginal insertion of the cord and especially velamentous insertions are susceptible to be accompanied by a growth-retarded fetus.

The hollow, muscular organ of the female mammal situated in the pelvis between the bladder and the rectum; its function is the nourishment of the developing foetus prior to birth. Syn.: womb.

Varicose veins
The posture of the pregnant woman affects arterial blood pressure. From a clinical viewpoint, the retarded blood flow and increased lower extremity venous pressure are of great importance. These alterations contribute to the dependent edema frequently experienced by women as they approach term, and to the development of varicose veins in the legs and vulva, as well as hemorrhoids.

Vernix caseosa
A fatty or cheesy substance on the skin of a newborn.

Villus, villi
Microscopic hairs found on some mucous inside the uterine wall.

- Vitamine A (Retinol) ~ A fat-soluble vitamin, participating in a variety of biologic functions, including vision, reproduction, immune function and cellular growth.
- Vitamine B12 (Cobalamin) ~ Vitamin B12 is supplied by animal protein food, including meat, fish, eggs and milk.
- Vitamine B6 (pyridoxine) ~ Vitamin B6 is required for protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism as well as for erythrocyte, immune and hormonal functions.
- Vitamine C (Ascorbic Acid) ~ The transport of vitamin C across the placenta from mother to fetus is accomplished by an energy-dependent carrier-mediated process.
- Vitamine D (Chlolecalciferol) ~ The levels of the principal vitamin D metabolites are greater in maternal plasma than are those in fetal plasma. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin or ingested and is converted by the liver, kidneys and placenta; one of its active compound stimulates resorption of calcium from bone and absorption in the intestines.

Note about vitamins: Nutrients that can potentially exert toxic effects include iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, B6, C and D. (for more details consult your physician)

      Parenting Glossary of Terms!


Inactivated Polio (Poliomyelitis) virus - by injection

Oral Polio (Poliomyelitis) virus - By Mouth

Whooping Cough

For additonal terms go to:


"Teen Choices"

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