High five—you’re having a baby! After the initial celebration, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and study. Yes, study. After all, there’s a lot of stuff that you need to know about pregnancy.

Just like your baby will one day learn the alphabet, you can use that same teaching tool to study up on the ABCs of pregnancy information.

Word Definition Source
Active labor When this happens, it’s time to go to the hospital. Active labor occurs when your cervix is between 3 and 7cm dilated. This stage of labor usually lasts 3 to 5 hours (if you’re lucky), and contractions are 45 to 60 seconds long every 3 to 5 minutes. americanpregnancy.org
Bishop score A measure used by your doctor during labor to determine if your cervix if ready for labor. If you hear numbers being mentioned, know that the range is 0–13 and a Bishop score of less than 6 means that your cervix may not be ready for labor www.acog.org
Crowning If you’ve ever seen a birth on tv, this is the part when people start covering their eyes. It’s when your baby’s head become visible during pushing. It’s also a sign that you’re about to cross the finish line. americanpregnancy.org
Dilation A measurement in centimeters of the openness of the cervix. If you’re 10 centimeters dilated, you’re ready to push americanpregnancy.org
Epidural A form of anesthesia that blocks pain to the lower body during labor and delivery. Sometimes known as “the juice.” americanpregnancy.org
False labor Occurs near your due date, but is not the real thing. Signs of false labor include: irregular contractions that go away if you change body positions americanpregnancy.org
Gestational diabetes Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy when your body is unable to make or use the right amounts of insulin. Some risk factors include: being older than 25, having a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity www.diabetes.org


High-risk pregnancy A pregnancy that is dangerous to the health or life of the mother or her baby. This could be because of the mother’s existing medical condition, her age or maternal obesity www.nichd.nih.gov
Induction Starting labor because you just can’t take it anymore. You could also be induced because you are too far past your due date or because you and the baby are at risk. americanpregnancy.org
Jaundice Occurs when the baby has high levels of bilirubin—a substance used to replace red blood cells. Symptoms include yellowish coloration and lethargy www.nlm.nih.gov
Kegel exercises Pelvic exercises to strengthen your uterus, bladder, bowels and vaginal muscles. Doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy may make childbirth easier americanpregnancy.org
Lamaze Breathing and relaxation techniques used before and during childbirth www.lamaze.org
Midwife A trained care provider, oftentimes a nurse, who supports women during pregnancy and childbirth www.mana.org
Nuchal cord A condition that occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck. This occurs in approximately 25% of all births, and is usually not dangerous www.marchofdimes.com
Overdue pregnancy When you haven’t given birth by the 42 week mark. By now, you’d probably do anything to get your water to break. Also known as a postterm pregnancy www.acog.org
Premature A birth that occurs at least three weeks before your due date (before 37 weeks). We call these babies “preemies.” www.cdc.gov
Quickening The first time you are able to feel your baby move inside of you. This usually occurs between weeks 13 and 25 weeks. It feels weird at first, but then you may grow to love it. americanpregnancy.org
Rh incompatibility When the mother has Rh negative blood and the baby has Rh positive blood, the mother’s immune system makes antibodies to attack the fetal cells. This condition is treated with Rh-immune globulin injections during pregnancy www.nlm.nih.gov
Stretch marks As your body grows to accommodate your baby, these sexy lines can appear on your abdomen, on your hips, around your breasts, pretty much anywhere. Embrace them. They’re a badge of honor. americanpregnancy.org
Transitioning labor The final phase of labor before pushing—your cervix is 7 to 10 cm dilated. This phase usually lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours (again, if you’re lucky). americanpregnancy.org
Umbilical cord Attaches the placenta to the fetus to help transport maternal blood, nutrients and oxygen to your baby. americanpregnancy.org
VBAC Short for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section. 60 to 80% of women who had c-sections are able to successfully give birth vaginally with a later pregnancy americanpregnancy.org
Walking epidural Also known as a Combined Spinal-Epidural, this narcotic or anesthetic injection relieves pain but still allows you to move around during labor and delivery americanpregnancy.org
X chromosome One of the 2 human sex chromosomes that help determine a baby’s sex. Babies with two X chromosomes are called “girls” ghr.nlm.nih.gov
Y chromosome One of the 2 human sex chromosomes that help determine a baby’s sex. Babies with one X and one Y chromosome are called “guys” ghr.nlm.nih.gov
Zygote The first four or five days of your baby’s development, when the sperm enters an egg to get this whole party started. nlm.nih.gov