HatchPedia

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

C-Section

/see· sek·shuh·n/

A cesarean section (c-section) is surgery to deliver a baby via the abdomen. The U.S. rate of C-sections is now up to 30%, but as common as they are, it’s still major surgery. Reasons for needing a c-section can vary. Sometimes they’re medically necessary and sometimes not, sometimes planned and sometimes done in an emergency situation. The cut is usually done horizontally below the bikini line and stitched up with staples, sutures or glue, depending on your provider.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

/kahr·puh· tuhn·l· sin·drohm/

About 60% of women in their third trimester will develop pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome, especially those who sit at a computer all day. Fun symptoms include tingling, pain, burning and numbness in the wrists, hands and fingers. Stretching and wearing a night brace can help keep hands and wrists supple and the blood flowing, but often the pain doesn’t subside until after delivery.

Cerclage

/sār·kläzh′/

A procedure done using sutures or synthetic tape to manually strengthen the cervix during pregnancy. This type of treatment is primarily for women who have a short cervix. It’s normally performed through the vagina, particularly if your healthcare provider is worried about the cervix opening too early before the baby is fully developed.

Cerebral Palsy

/suh·ree·bruhl· pawl·zee/

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by damage to areas of the brain that affects the control of movement and posture. Given this damage, someone with the disorder can’t move normally. There are two types of cerebral palsy: congenital CP (the most common) caused by brain damage during pregnancy or birth and acquired CP, which happens after birth and can follow an infection like meningitis or a head injury.

Cervical Dilation

/sur·vi·kuh l· /dahy·ley·shuh n/

Dilation is both the opening of the cervix (measured in centimeters) and the effacement or the thinning of the cervix (measured in percentage) that occurs as labor and delivery gets closer. There are three phases of dilation and labor, but the timing is different for every woman depending on a variety of factors.

The Early Labor Phase: From the onset until the cervix is dilated to 3 cm.
Active Labor Phase: From 3 cm. to 7 cm.
Transition Phase: From 7 cm. to 10 cm. aka GO TIME.

Chlamydia

/kluh·mid·ee·uh/

Like most STD's, chlamydia is spread via sex. If left untreated, chlamydia might develop into pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause ectopic pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Because of this, pregnant women need to be screened for chlamydia. If you have the infection while pregnant, there’s increased risk of early delivery and of transmitting it to your baby. But don't stress it too much. If you test positive, you can treat both you and your babe with super safe antibiotics.

Chloasma

/kloh·az·muh/

Also known as melasma, this skin discoloration can pop up during pregnancy as dark patches on the face caused by a change in hormones (the cause of most pregnancy symptoms, if we're being honest). Sun exposure is another risk factor for the skin condition so make sure to use lots of SPF while pregnant. There isn’t much to do to improve it during your pregnancy, but afterwards you can treat it with retinoids and lasers.

Chorionic Villus Sampling

/kawr·ee·on·ik· vil·uhs· sam·pling/

This prenatal test occurs at around 10 weeks of pregnancy when a sample of chorionic villi (aka placental tissue that shares the baby's genetic makeup) is removed from the placenta for testing. The sample can be taken through the cervix (transcervical) or the abdominal wall (transabdominal). Chorionic villus sampling can reveal whether a baby has a chromosomal condition, such as Down syndrome, as well as other genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis.

You might consider having a CVS if you've had worrisome results from a prenatal screening test, you've had a chromosomal condition in a previous pregnancy, or if you're 35 or older. If you have a family history of a specific genetic condition, or you or your partner is a carrier of a genetic condition, a CVS can then be used to diagnose many of these disorders.

Circumcision

/sur·kuh m·sizh·uh n/

The elective surgical removal of a baby boy’s foreskin, which covers the end of the penis. If you’re not religious, this procedure is done in the hospital often by the physician/OB who delivered your son in the days following his birth. If you’re of Jewish faith, most likely this will be done at a service called a bris, performed one week following birth, by a mohel who's trained in this procedure (and most likely with a bagel and schmear). Arguments for and against circumcision exist on both sides, so we leave it up to you, mamas!

Clomid

/klom·id/

This oral medication has been used for decades to treat infertility. It’s often the first step taken by doctors to induce ovulation before moving on to more invasive methods. Clomid works by blocking estrogen production, which stimulates an increase in the amount of hormones that support the growth and release of a mature egg.

Cluster Feeding

/kluhs·ter· fee·ding/

Also called bunch feeding, this common habit in the early days of babyhood occurs when a mama spaces feedings closer together at certain times of the day (especially in the evenings when you’re trying to get them to sleep longer). By 3-4 months, they generally grow out of this practice.

Colic

/kol·ik/

Otherwise known as every parents’ fear and worst nightmare, colic is a term to describe a baby that cries and cries and won’t stop crying for hours on end, and for no real reason. Colic can start a few weeks after birth and peak at around 4-6 weeks old. The cause of colic isn’t known, but factors can include gas and general moodiness.

Colostrum

/kuh·los·truh m/

Starting at around 12-18 weeks, your body is going to start producing a protein-packed “liquid gold.” It’s the earliest form of breast milk that drips from your boob in a yellowish clear, sticky concentrate that’s made up of protein, sugar, fat + immunity factors to protect your babe from germs in those first days of life. Colostrum coats the intestines + forms a barrier that seals to your babe’s insides to prepare them for a healthy life. It also kills harmful microorganisms and provides protection from inflammation. It’s basically a wonderful first meal for any babe that they’ll enjoy in very small doses as your milk starts to come in.

Colostrum

/cuh·loss·struhm/

This liquid gold is the earliest form of breast milk that drips from your boobs in the form of a yellowish, clear, sticky concentrate made up of protein, sugar, fat + immunity factors. Colostrum coats the intestines of your babe + forms a barrier that seals to their insides to prepare them for a healthy life. It also kills harmful microorganisms and provides protection from inflammation. It’s basically a wonderful first meal for any babe that they’ll enjoy in very small doses as your milk starts to come in.

Congenital Disorder

/kuh n·jen·i·tl· dis·awr·der/

A genetic birth defect that presents at birth and can include physical, mental or developmental issues/delays. Risk factors can include genetics, age, smoking, drinking, general health and nutrition while pregnant. For this reason, many mothers-to-be are eager to do genetic testing for fetal abnormalities in the first trimester.

Cord Blood Banking

/kawrd· bluhd· bang· king/

Cord Blood Banking is the process of collecting, freezing + storing the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord for future medical use. The cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which can develop into other types of cells. They can help repair tissues, organs and blood vessels that can treat diseases. The process of collecting cord blood is fast, easy and painless.

If you decide to bank your baby’s cord blood, you can do two main things. You can donate it to a public cord blood bank or you can pay to store it in a private cord blood bank for your family to use. If - god forbid - your child develops a disease that cord blood can help treat, it would seem like a no brainer, right? Just know that the price to store your baby’s blood for years is steep, like in the thousands of dollars steep, and in reality the chances of your child benefitting from their cord blood is less than .04%. The diseases currently treatable with cord blood are not only very rare, but it’s likely that those stem cells found in the cord blood contain the same genetic defects. However, in helping other family members, you could be happy you did it. And donating it to a public bank, where it may one day go to a child in need is another wonderful way to use it.

Cord Blood Banking

/korde· blud· bay·nking/

This storage option is when you collect, freeze + store the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord for future medical use. The cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which can develop into other types of cells. They can help repair tissues, organs and blood vessels that can treat diseases. The process of collecting cord blood is fast, easy and painless. If you decide to bank your baby’s cord blood, you can do two things. You can donate it to a public cord blood bank or you can pay to store it in a private cord blood bank for your family to use.

Cradle Cap

/kreyd·l· kap/

Cradle cap or infantile seborrheic dermatitis causes crusty or oily scaly patches on a baby's scalp. The condition isn't painful or itchy, but it can cause thick white or yellow scales that aren’t easy to remove. It usually disappears on its own within a few months. You can wash your baby’s scalp daily with a mild, non-fragrant shampoo to remove the scales but you have to treat this area gently. It should subside with time.

Croup

/kroop/

This condition refers to an infection of the upper airway, which obstructs breathing and causes a characteristic barking cough that sounds more like a seal than a baby. Croup usually isn't serious and most children can be treated at home. Some symptoms include fever and labored breathing.

CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling)

/cho·ree·on·ik· vil·uh s· sam·pling/

Doctors perform this genetic test by removing a small piece of your placenta via a needle through your belly or a small tube up your vagina. They test the sample for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions. Only some high-risk women will need this test, usually if an earlier screening finds a risk of a birth defect. The procedure will tell you if there’s a problem, but it also comes with a risk of miscarriage that’s similar to amniocentesis. Talk to your doctor about whether you should have CVS.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

/sahy·toh·meg·uh·loh·vahy·ruh s/

CMV is a herpes-like virus that can be transmitted to a child during pregnancy. CMV is spread through close, intimate contact with a person excreting the virus in their saliva, urine, breast milk or other bodily fluids. It’s not totally treatable with medication, but in the U.S., nearly one in three children are already infected with CMV by age five. Over half of adults by age 40 have been infected with CMV. Babies born with CMV can have brain, liver, spleen, lung and growth problems, but according to the CDC, the most common long-term health problem in babies born with CMV is hearing loss, which may be detected soon after birth or may develop later in childhood.