From Amnio to Zygote, peep our glossary of all the pregnancy and birth-related terms you never knew existed, 'til now.

Advanced Maternal Age

/ad·vanst· muh·tur·nl· eyj/

Technically, if you’re over 35, you’re of advanced maternal age. But are you really, though? We’re not quite sure. After all, women way older than 35 go on to have happy, healthy pregnancies and babes. When was the last time 35 was considered advanced in anything??

That said, 35 is really just an age when certain discussion topics may be a little more relevant at your doctor’s visit. For example, it could take a bit longer to conceive than women in their 20’s, though again, not necessarily. However, if you are over 35 and have been trying for somewhere between six months to a year, you may want to check in with your healthcare provider on your options.

Statistically speaking, you are more likely to have multiples when you’re 35 or older, but that could be due to the idea that older women are more likely to use assisted reproductive technology (aka ART), which can skew the numbers. You might be more apt to develop certain conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and your risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities is elevated, so explore your options on genetic testing if you’re so inclined. Our advice? Don’t stress and talk to your doctor. During your pregnancy, stay active, make healthy choices and don’t buy (too much) into the hype.



An Amniocentesis, or “Amnio” is a prenatal test where amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus to be tested or treated. This super fluid contains fetal cells + proteins and can tell A LOT about the health of your babe, and it’s commonly used to test for genetic conditions like Down syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis, or spinal defects like Spina Bifida. An amnio is usually done between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy and might be recommended if you’ve had a worrisome prenatal DNA screening test, if you’ve had a chromosomal condition or neural tube defect in a previous pregnancy, if you’re over 35, or if you have a family history of a genetic condition.

Mamas-to-be stress out when the idea of an amnio comes up, because it carries a very small .1-.3 percent risk of miscarriage. Other potential risks include leaking amniotic fluid (again super rare + non-life threatening), a needle injury (read: super rare) or it might trigger a uterine infection. In very rare instances, if you have hepatitis c, toxoplasmosis or HIV/AIDS, an amnio carries the risk of your transferring infection to your fetus. Ultimately, the decision to have an amniocentesis is up to you, but often times the learnings can outweigh the risk. Your healthcare provider or genetic counselor can help you weigh all the factors.

An amnio is usually done in an outpatient facility. Your healthcare provider will start by determining the location of your babe. Next, she’ll apply gel to your stomach and use a device to see the baby. She’ll clean your belly with antiseptic and insert a thin, hollow needle through your abs into the wall of your uterus. She’ll fill a small amount of amniotic fluid into a syringe and will remove the needle. That’s it! You might have some pelvic pain afterwards. Abstain from strenuous exercise and sex for a day or two. Contact your health care provider if you’re experiencing excessive bleeding, loss of fluid, severe cramping, fever or inflammation near the needle point.

Amniotic Fluid

/am·nee·ot·ik· floo·id/

When you’re preggo, the amniotic sac grows in your uterus containing this protective fluid which surrounds the fetus (think of it as a bubble for your baby). It helps with digestion and the development of major organs, muscles and bones. Towards the end of term, the fluid levels drop as babe gets bigger and is ready to be delivered.

Amniotic Sac

/am·nee·ot·ik· sak/

Consider this the home where your babe lives, aka a two-layered membrane surrounding the embryo or fetus inside the uterus. This big ole' sac is filled with fluid in which the your embryo or fetus is suspended. The amniotic fluid helps to cushion the baby from bumps and bruises along the way, and it even keeps a constant temperature for the baby. It also helps your baby's lungs, digestive system and musculoskeletal system to develop.



So much extra blood is being fed to your baby during pregnancy (hence the gum bleeds and nose bleeds, sigh) that if you don’t get enough nutrients like iron, your body can get depleted. Anemia is when your blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the baby. It can happen anytime but you’re often more susceptible when pregnant. Your doctor will check your iron levels at routine visits, so don't stress it, and if any tests come back questionable, you can discuss your next steps with your provider.

Anomaly Scan

/uh·nom·uh·lee· skan/

An anomaly or 20 week scan is the halfway mark ultrasound that measures growth and organ development and may reveal any fetal abnormalities. Most likely if you’ve have any genetic testing or a CVS/amniocentesis, you’ll know about any issues by 16 weeks, but this is a good backup!

Apgar Score

/aph·gahr· skohr/

The Apgar score is the first all-encompassing test given to newborns after birth to check for general health and wellbeing. Apgar is an acronym for:
Appearance (skin color)
Pulse (heart rate)
Grimace response (reflexes)
Activity (muscle tone)
Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

Each is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score for a total of 10.



ART is an acronym for Assisted Reproductive Treatment, which refers to treatments like IVF or surrogacy used in order to conceive. According to the CDC, ART includes "all fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled," but do NOT include treatments in which only sperm are handled (i.e., intrauterine—or artificial—insemination) or "procedures in which a woman takes medicine only to stimulate egg production without the intention of having eggs retrieved."