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Postpartum Terminology

Terms

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Afterpains
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Attachment
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Boggy uterus
A term used to describe the uterine fundus when it is not firmly contracted after the birth of the baby and in the early postpartum period; excessive bleeding occurs from the placental site, and maternal hemorrhage may occur.
Bonding
Process of parent-infant attachment occurring at or soon after birth.
Colostrum
Secretion from the breast before the onset of true lactation; contains mainly serum and white blood corpuscles. It has a high protein content, provdes some immune properties, and cleanses the newborn's intestinal tract of mucus and meconium.
Diastisis Recti Abdominis
Separation of the recti abdominis muscles along the median line. In women, it is seen with repeated childbirths or multiple gestations. In the newborn, it is usually caused by incomplete development.
En face
An assumed position in which one person looks at another and maintains his or her face in the same vertical plane as that of the other.
Engorgement
The swelling of breast tissue brought about by an increase in blood and lymph supply to the breast, preceding true lactation.
Fundus
The upper portion of the uterus between the fallopian tubes.
Involution
Rolling or turning inward; the reduction in size of the uterus following childbirth.
Let-down reflex
Pattern of stimulation, hormone release, and resulting muscle contraction that forces milk into the lactiferous ducts, making it available to the infant.
Lochia alba
White vaginal discharge that follows lochia serosa and that lasts from about the 10th to the 21st day after birth.
Lochia rubra
Red, blood-tinged vaginal discharge that occurs following birth and lasts 2 to 4 days.
Lochia serosa
Pink, serous, and blood-tinged vaginal discharge that follows lochia rubra and lasts until the 7th to 10th day after birth.
Postpartum blues
A maternal adjustment reaction occurring in the first few postpartal days, characterized by mild depression, tearfulness, anxiety, headache, and irritability.
Puerperium
The period after commpletion of the third stage of labor until involution of the uterus is complete, usually 6 weeks.

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