Glossary

AAP
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the professional organization for American pediatricians.
ACNM
The American College of Nurse Midwives. This is the professional organization of Certified Nurse-Midwives, which provides research, accredits midwifery education programs, promotes the profession of midwifery, provides continuing education, establishes clinical practice standards for CNMs/CMs, and creates liaisons with state and federal agencies and members of Congress.
ACOG
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the professional organization for…(you guessed it)… American obstetricians and gynecologists.
AMA
The American Medical Association.
ANA
American Nurses Association.
AMCB
The American Midwifery Cerfitication Board. The national certifying agency which establishes and administers the certification exam for the credential “Certified Nurse Midwife” and “Certified Midwife” (i.e. the organization which administers the board exams to become qualified as a CNM and CM).
Amenorrhea
n. The absence of menstruation. Can be caused by many different things, such as menopause, excessive exercise, or pathologies.
BMJ
The British Medical Journal.
Bradycardia
n. A decrease in heart rate. In adults, bradycardia is defined as a HR of less than 60 beats per minute. In the fetus, bradycardia is defined as a baseline HR of less than 120 bpm. Severe fetal bradycardia is anything less than 100 bpm, while moderate fetal bradycardia is a HR of 100-110 and mild fetal bradycardia is a HR between 110-120 bpm.
CDC
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
CM
A Certified Midwife, having met the standards established by the ACNM and been credentialed by the ACNM. CMs are direct-entry midwives who attended an ACNM accredited program, and are skilled practitioners who Provide the Midwifery Model of Care, often practicing in hospitals and Birth Centers, but not limited to these venues. The credential of CNM and CM are synonymous.
CNM
A Certified Nurse-Midwife, having met the standards established by the ACNM and been credentialed by the ACNM. CNMs are Registered Nurses who went on to attend an ACNM accredited program to become midwives. CNMs are skilled practitioners who provide the Midwifery Model of Care, often practicing in hospitals and Birth Centers, but not limited to these venues.
CPD
n. Cephalopelvic disproportion, i.e. when the baby’s head or body is too large to fit through the maternal pelvis.
CPM
A Certified Professional Midwife, having met the standards established by MEAC and been credentialed by NARM. CPMs are direct-entry midwives and skilled practitioners who provide the Midwifery Model of Care, often in out-of-hospital settings.
Direct-entry Midwife
A general term which applies to all midwives who obtained their midwifery education directly, without first obtaining a nursing education. Direct-entry midwives are educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college/university program distinct from the discipline of nursing.
Episiotomy
n. An incision made in the perineum to enlarge the vaginal opening during birth.
Footling breech
n. A baby presenting in the breech position, with one or two feet as the presenting part.
Fundus
n. The top of the uterus, usually palpable in the abdomen of a gravid woman. After delivery, the fundus should be firm and midline in the abdomen, at or below the level of the umbilicus. In the weeks after delivery, the fundus gradually involutes back to its pre-pregnancy size and position.
HBAC
Home Birth After Cesarean
JAMA
The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Lay Midwife
A general term referring to midwives who are not licensed or credentialed as CNMs/CMs or CPMs. Often this midwife is educated through informal routes such as self-study or apprenticeship rather than through a formal program. This term is not derragatory and does not necessarily imply a low level of education or skill, only that the midwife either chose not to become certified or licensed, or began practicing as a midwife before the CPM certification was available.
Licensed Midwife
Midwives who are credentialed, i.e. CNMs/CMs and CPMs.
MANA
Midwives Alliance of North America. This is a professional organization much like the ACNM, providing support for midwives, promoting the profession of midwifery and setting educational and professional guidelines. However, while membership in the ACNM is limited to CNMs/CMs only, MANA is open to all midwives: CNMs/CMs, CPMs and lay midwives.
MEAC
Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council. This is a non-profit corporation which evaluates and accredits direct-entry midwifery education programs and schools. MEAC has developed comprehensive national standards for education in out-of-hospital midwifery care, and has accredited 11 programs to date, with 4 more in process. Students who attend MEAC accredited programs obtain their certification through NARM (see below).
Midwifery Model of Care
The Midwifery Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwifery Model of Care includes 1) monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle, 2) providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support, 3) minimizing technological interventions and 4) identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention. The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section. (Copyright © 1996-2005, Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved.)
Multigravida
n. The name given to a woman who has been pregnant more than once. She may have given birth to her child, or miscarried or aborted.
Multip
n. An abbreviated version of the word multipara.
Multipara
n. The name given to a woman who has given birth more than one time.
NARM
The North American Registry of Midwives. This is the certification agency which establishes and administers certification for the credential “Certified Professional Midwife” (i.e. the organization which administers the board exams to become qualified as a CPM).
NICU
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Placenta Accreta
n. Abnormal growth of the placenta deep into the uterine wall, making seperation of the placenta after delivery difficult and often requiring manual removal.
Placenta Previa
n. Improper placement/implantation of the placenta at term, where the placenta either partially or completely covers the cervix, instead of moving to the top of the uterus by the end of the third trimester. Placenta previa can either be marginal, partial, or complete, and often necessitates a cesarean delivery.
Primigravida
n. The name given to a woman who is pregnant for the first time.
Primip
n. An abbreviated version of the word primipara.
Primipara
n. The name given to a woman who has given birth once, or is about to give birth for the first time.
PROM
Premature Rupture of Membranes, i.e. a woman’s water breaks before active labor begins. This occurs in up to 8% of all normal term (37+ weeks) pregnancies, and 80% of all women will spontaneously go into labor on their own within the next 24 hours.
PPROM
Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes, i.e. when a woman’s water breaks before active labor begins, and she has not yet reached term gestation (37 weeks gestation). PPROM is usually caused by infection, and requires careful monitoring, and sometimes induction.
Shoulder Dystocia
n. Occurs when the fetus’ shoulder impacts against the mother’s pelvis, making delivery complicated. Additional maneuvers are required to deliver the fetus.
Tachycardia
n. An increase in heart rate. In adults, tachycardia is defined as anything over 100 beats per minute, while fetal tachycardia is defined as a HR of 160 bpm or more.
Uterine Rupture
Occurs when the uturus ruptures during labor, usually from a previous scar opening up, such as the scar from a prior cesarean.
VBAC
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.
WHO
n. The World Health Organization, the UN’s specialized agency for world health and health promotion.

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