Pregnancy glossary E - Eclampsia to Episiotomy


Severe pre-eclampsia which results in maternal seizures. Eclampsia is caused by pregnancy-induced hypertension, a dangerous condition that may occur during pregnancy. Symptoms may include elevated maternal blood pressure, swelling of ankles and hands, sudden weight gain and protein in the urine.

Ectopic pregnancy

This is a pregnancy in which the fertilised egg implants in a location outside the uterus: usually in the fallopian tube, the ovary, or the abdominal cavity. Ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous condition that must receive prompt medical treatment.


The egg is a female reproductive cell, also known as an ovum or oocyte.

Egg retrieval

This is also called oocyte retrieval and is the name of the procedure in which the eggs contained in the ovarian follicles are collected.

Egg transfer

Used as part of assisted reproductive technology, this is also called oocyte transfer and is the transfer of retrieved eggs into a woman's fallopian tubes through laparoscopy.

Electronic fetal monitor

Monitoring of the fetal heart through the use of an external doppler (ultrasound) device. Frequently shortened to EFM.


An egg that has been fertilised by a sperm and that has undergone one or more divisions.


During the first stage of labor, the cervix shortens. This process is called effacement. Effacement is expressed in terms of percentages: no effacement is called 0 percent, full effacement is 100 percent.

Embryo transfer

This is the placement of embryos into a woman's uterus through the cervix after IVF.


The uterine lining.


Also known as 'dropping', this is when the widest part of the baby's head has settled deep into the pelvis in the latter stages of pregnancy.


This is a regional anesthetic that may be used during labor. A catheter (a narrow tube) is inserted and anesthesia is injected into the outer lining of the spinal cord (epidural space). For many women, it completely removes the pain of labour. The use of epidural anesthesia has been associated with prolonged labour and other complications.


A surgical incision made to the perineum during the birthing process to enlarge the vaginal opening.

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This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot New Zealand

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