Pregnancy glossary A - Anencephaly to Amniotic sac


This disorder is a neural tube defect and involves incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or their protective coverings. The neural tube is a narrow sheath that folds and closes between the 3rd and 4th weeks of pregnancy to form the brain, skull, and scalp. Infants with this disorder are born without both a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and a cerebrum (the thinking and coordinating area of the brain). The remaining brain tissue is often left exposed - not covered by bone or skin.

APGAR score

The APGAR score is a measurement of a newborn's response to the birth experience and its new life outside the womb.

The scoring is from 1-10, with 10 being very high.

The ratings are based on the following factors:

  • Appearance (color)
  • Pulse
  • Grimace (reflex)
  • Activity and Respiration

Assisted reproductive technology

Also known as ART. All treatments or procedures that involve the handling of human eggs and sperm for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy.

Abruptio placenta

This is the term given to the premature separation of a normally implanted placenta from the uterus and can be quite severe. Symptoms of placental abruption include bleeding, cramping, and abdominal/uterine tenderness.


This is the name given to the absence of your menstrual period - one of the first signs of pregnancy. After the birth of your baby you will experience amenorrhea from somewhere between 6 weeks and three months - usually longer if you are breastfeeding.

Amniotic fluid

This colourless liquid surrounds and cushions your developing baby in your womb.

Amniotic sac

The amniotic sac is the membrane surrounding the baby, and is filled with amniotic fluid.

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This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot New Zealand.

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