HatchPedia

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

Vaginal Discharge

/vaj·uh·nl· dis·chahrj/

Normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea and is thin, white, milky and mild smelling. It is normal and nothing for you to worry about. Ask your healthcare provider if anything smells or looks funny or if you experience heavy spotting.

Varicose Veins

/var·i·kohs· veyn·s/

These enlarged veins are often find in the legs, but can even reach up to your butt. They’re one of the more unfortunate side effects of pregnancy, right up there with hemorrhoids and constipation. The reason is that during pregnancy, your blood volume increases, while the rate at which blood flows from your legs to your pelvis lessens. This can add pressure on the veins, which in turn cause varicose veins. Hormones are also to blame, as increased progestin can open up the veins. They’re generally harmless but they’re pesky and can be uncomfortable. Usually they’ll go down within three months to a year after giving birth. To combat, avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time, stop wearing wearing high heels, exercise, wear compression socks or maternity hosiery, elevate your legs once in a while to get that blood flowing, reduce salt and sodium intake to minimize swelling and drink plenty of water and eat healthy (as per usual).

Vasectomy

/va·sek·tuh·mee/

A vasectomy—or male sterilization—is a simple surgical procedure done by a doctor in an office, hospital or clinic where the small tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm are cut or blocked off, so sperm can’t leave your body and cause pregnancy. The procedure is very quick, effective with little to no downtime. After 10 months of being pregnant and knowing you’re not going to want more babies, you may be eager to send your partner in for this reversible surgery.

VBAC

/vee·bak/

Defined as vaginal birth after cesarean, this occurs when you deliver your second baby vaginally after already having a c-section. If this is something you’re interested in, discuss your concerns and expectations with your healthcare provider early on in pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will need to figure out the risks and likelihood that you'll have a successful VBAC.

Vernix Caseosa

/ver·nicks· case·o·sah/

When a baby's skin in still developing in the womb, it's covered with a thick, white, cheese-like layer called vernix caseosa. It’s there to protect delicate skin from the acidity of the amniotic fluid, maintain a proper temperature and to help keep infection at bay. Research shows that removing vernix after delivery is not necessary and leaving it on baby’s skin can actually provide antibacterial promotion, help develop a healthy microbiome and wound healing. The World Health Organization advises delaying baby's first bath for 24 hours.