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GLOSSARY

A

Amniotic sac: the fluid-filled sac that contains and protects a foetus in the womb. See also: waters breaking.

Anal fissure: small tear in the tissue that lines the anus that are common after childbirth. See also: haemorrhoids.

B

Baby blues: feelings of sadness or moodiness you may experience in the few first days and couple of weeks after having a baby.

Belly band: a support garment that can be worn around the waist to provide extra support to the abdominal muscles and back during pregnancy and after childbirth. Also known as a pregnancy support belt.

Bottle-feeding: feeding baby with expressed breast milk or infant formula with a bottle.

Breast-feeding: feeding a baby with milk from the breast.

C

Cluster feeding: a time when your baby wants lots of short feeds over a few hours.

Colostrum: the first milk baby gets when you start breastfeeding. it is full of nutrients and immunity-boosting goodness to support baby in their first few days of life.

Combi-feeding: both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding baby. The bottle could be full of expressed breast milk or formula milk (but not mixed together).

Constipation: bowel movements are difficult or happen less often than normal.

D

Diastasis recti: the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis (aka the “six-pack” muscles).

E

Engorgement: breast swelling that results in painful, tender breasts.

Episiotomy: a cut made in the area between the vagina and anus (the perineum) during childbirth.

Estrogen: a sex hormone that plays a role in developing and maintaining reproduction in the female body. It declines dramatically immediately after giving birth.

Expressing: squeezing milk out of the breast so it can be stored and fed to baby later. See also: hand expressing and pumping.

F

Fourth trimester: the 12 weeks following the birth of your baby.

Fundal massage: the pressing of your uterus after birth, by a midwife, to help it contract. 

H

Haemorrhoids: swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus). See also: piles.

Hand expressing: using your hands to massage the breast and gently release milk out of your breast. Also called manual expression.

L

Let down: release of milk from the breast. It can feel quite intense and even painful, especially at the beginning of breastfeeding.

Lochia: Vaginal bleeding after birth. It is a combination of mucus, tissue and blood that is shed from the lining of the uterus.

M

Mastitis: an infection that develops in breast tissue.

Maternal sepsis: a severe bacterial infection, usually of the uterus (womb), which can occur in pregnant women or more commonly, in the days following childbirth.

Milk coming in: the beginning of mature milk production. It usually starts 2-3 days after childbirth when mothers usually start to notice their breasts becoming full and heavy.

N

Neonatal: relating to newborn or the first 28 days of life.

P

Pelvic floor: a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel.

Pelvic organ prolapse: when the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, or rectum) become weak or loose. This allows one or more of the pelvic organs to drop or press into or out of the vagina.

Perineal tear: a tear in the area between the back passage (anus) and vaginal opening, usually as a result of childbirth. there are different degrees of tears.

Perineum: the area between the back passage (the anus) and the vaginal opening.

Piles: swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus). See also: haemorrhoids.

Postpartum anxiety: excessive worrying that occurs after having a baby. It can sometimes be accompanied by physical symptoms.

Postpartum depression: a type of depression many parents experience after having a baby.

Postpartum edema aka postpartum swelling: a medical condition that refers to the swelling of the body that occurs in the days and weeks after giving birth.

Postpartum hair loss: the loss of hair after giving birth, which usually starts a few months after giving birth. Also known as excessive hair shedding.

Postpartum psychosis: a rare but serious and potentially life-threatening mental health issue. It usually takes the form of severe depression or mania or both.

Postpartum rage: a mental condition that’s connected to postpartum depression, anxiety and possibly bipolar disorder.

Pumping: squeezing milk out of your breast using either a manual or electronic pumping device.

Pump & Dump: pumping milk from your breast and throwing it away (dumping) rather than saving it.

Prolapse: when an organ sags or droops out of its normal position. See also: pelvic organ prolapse.

R

Relaxin: a hormone produced by the ovaries and placenta. It loosens and relaxes muscles, joints and ligaments during pregnancy to help the body stretch and prepare for giving birth.

S

Sitz bath: a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the area between the vagina and the anus. See also: perineum.

U

Urinary incontinence: the unintentional passing of urine.

W

Waters breaking: when it’s time for your baby to be born, the amnitoic sac (the fluid around your baby) usually breaks and the amniotic fluid drains out through your vagina. See also: amniotic sac.

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