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

Ectopic Pregnancy

/ek·top·ik· preg·nuh n·see/

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg doesn’t make it to your uterus and ends up in your fallopian tube or elsewhere in the abdomen. This might occur due to a problem with the tube or with the egg, itself. If this happens, the pregnancy can’t progress and emergency treatment might be necessary to remove the ectopic tissue. Depending on your symptoms and when the ectopic pregnancy is discovered, this can happen using medication, laparoscopic surgery or abdominal surgery.

An early ectopic pregnancy is most often treated with an injection of methotrexate, which prohibits growth of the cell and dissolves the existing cells. Following the injection, you'll have another HCG test to determine if the treatment is working, and whether you need more medication. In a laparoscopic procedure, a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. Your doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the tubal area. The ectopic pregnancy is removed and the tube is either repaired or removed.

Which procedure you have depends on levels of bleeding, damage and whether the tube has ruptured. In rare cases, you may require emergency abdominal surgery, particularly if the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding. In some cases, the fallopian tube can be repaired, however, a ruptured tube generally must be removed.



Edema is defined as the excessive swelling of the ankles and feet during pregnancy. It can start at around week 22 and last until you deliver. This condition occurs because your body is retaining tons of extra fluid, so elevate your feet and wear comfortable shoes. Excessive swelling can also be a sign of preeclampsia, but only when accompanied by elevated blood pressure, rapid weight gain and protein in the urine. If your blood pressure and urine are normal (these are checked at every doctor’s visit), don’t stress it.

Egg Freezing

/eg· free·zing/

Also known as oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing is an option for women who want to preserve their current fertility levels while delaying motherhood. The procedure involves securing a reserve of eggs and putting them on ice for future use – at which point they can be defrosted, fertilized and implanted in the uterus for pregnancy. Depending on your age, the success rate for how many eggs you can produce will vary, and the medication and hospital time are not fully covered by insurance (the cost is about $10,000-$15,000 for each retrieval, and storage is another $3,000 for three years).

Egg Quality

/eh·guh· k·wal·it·ee/

The quality of a woman’s eggs plays a key role in her ability to conceive and bring a fetus to term. High-quality eggs have the best chance of developing into an embryo, implanting in the uterus and resulting in a successful pregnancy. Egg quality refers to whether an egg is chromosomally “normal” or “abnormal." A normal egg has 23 chromosomes and when fertilized by sperm, the resulting chromosomally normal embryo will have a total of 46 chromosomes. With age there’s a decrease in egg quality and by age 35, most women have only about 6% of their remaining egg count left (sorry for the grim stats). Every month just before ovulation, these eggs go through a process of maturation, including cell division (called meiosis), and older eggs are more prone to errors during this division process. As women age, it’s more likely that these eggs will contain abnormal DNA, and without healthy DNA, an egg can’t perform its function to create a healthy and viable fetus and embryo.



Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places in the body but outside the womb. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, heavy periods and infertility. It affects more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44 and can cause problems getting and staying pregnant. Several different treatment options can help manage symptoms and improve your chances of conceiving.



Breast engorgement is common in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding and occurs when your breasts are considered overly-full of milk. Once your baby is born, your breasts are given a signal by the brain to start producing milk. Blood flows to your breasts, and the milk follows several days after the birth. While it's just nature doing its job, this process can be painful for some.

Breast engorgement usually occurs when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. It can happen when your milk first comes in during the first few days after birth, or when you have a regular breastfeeding routine but can't nurse or pump as much as usual, OR if you suddenly stop breastfeeding. You can try a few at-home symptoms to seek relief, like applying a warm compress for a few of minutes before you breastfeed, using your hands or a pump to let out (express) a small amount of milk from both breasts, or applying a frozen wet towel, cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables. Put it to your breasts for 15 minutes at a time every hour as needed.


/ep·i·doo r·uh l/

An epidural is one of the most commonly used and safest forms of pain relief for labor. It delivers continuous pain relief to the lower part of your body, while allowing you to be fully conscious. If given properly, it can reduce sensation but it won’t cause a total lack of feeling ‘cause you gotta PUSH that baby out. The epidural medication is delivered through a catheter and administered by an anesthesiologist. The medication dose is controlled by you and you'll start to notice the numbing effect of this miracle drug within minutes after the first dose.



An episiotomy is a surgical cut in the area between the vagina and the anus (otherwise known as the perineum). This cut is made to open up your vagina prior to delivering. OBs used to do these often to speed up the labor process and prevent your vagina from tearing, but within the last 20 years, studies have suggested that women who tear on their own generally recover better and with fewer complications. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists got on board and said the procedure shouldn't be done routinely. While the incidence of episiotomies has been on the decline, there are a few situations in which an episiotomy might be helpful. If your baby is super big and your OB needs a little extra room during delivery, especially to apply forceps, they may opt to do one. Also, if your babe needs to be born as quickly as possible, maybe due to a heart rate sitch, your OB may decide that an episiotomy will move the delivery along to see that your baby is delivered safely.