Glossary M-Z

Membrane: The thin, outer part of a cell.

Mesoderm: The middle layer of an embryo.

Metabolism: The physical and chemical processes that take place within the body.

Moro reflex: A certain type of response by a baby’s nervous system.

Myelin sheath: A soft fatty material that covers the axon.

Nerve: Bundles of fibers found throughout the body which send signals to the brain.

Nerve root: Part of the nerve that comes out of the spinal cord.

Neurological system: The group, or network, of nerves and cells that send messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.

Neurapraxia: The mildest form of injury to a nerve.

Nutrients: What cells need to grow and develop.

Ovary: Part of the female reproductive tract. Most women have two of them and they are located in the pelvis. They are about the size of your thumb. They contain the eggs that are released (one egg a month) that can be fertilized by the sperm.

Palate: The roof of the mouth.

Placenta: A temporary organ located in the uterus that is only present during pregnancy. It provides nutrition, oxygen, and blood to the growing baby. It also removes waste from baby’s body. The baby is connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord.

Plaque: A sticky film that builds up on teeth.

Prenatal: The prenatal period is the time that a woman is pregnant.

Progesterone: A female hormone. The amount of progesterone increases during pregnancy.

Quickening: Describes the earliest movements of a developing baby felt by the mother.

Receptor site: A specific area on a cell that attracts hormones.

Refractory power: How the eye focuses.

Reperfusion: Occurs when the flow of blood is restored to an organ or tissue.

Seizure: Unintentional, uncontrollable movements of the body caused by a problem with the electrical impulses in the brain.

Serum: Blood.

Shoulder dystocia: A condition when one, or both, of a baby’s shoulders are stuck during childbirth.

Sixth cranial nerve: (abducens nerve) The nerve necessary for eye movement in the outward direction (away from the nose).

Stroma: Special cells made of a spongy material that helps hold an organ in the body together.

Symphysis pubis: A joint made of special tissue located in the middle of the pelvis that holds it together.

Taxonomies: A disruption or disturbance in the axon due to an injury.

Traction: The act of pulling.

Translucency: Occurs when light can pass through an object.

Trimester: A specific period during pregnancy. A woman’s pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester is the first 12 weeks. The second trimester the 13th week to the 28th week of pregnancy. The third trimester is from the 28th week of pregnancy until the baby is delivered.

Third trimester: The last of the three trimesters in pregnancy. It lasts from the 28th week of pregnancy until delivery.

Ultrasound: A test which allows you to look inside the body by using ultrasonic wand that shows a picture of organs on a screen.

Umbilical cord: A flexible, gel-like cord that connects the unborn baby to the placenta.

Uterine contractions: The tightening of the uterus.

Uterus: Located in the lower part of a woman’s body (the pelvis), the uterus is a hollow organ where a baby develops and grows until birth.

Vagina: The birth canal.

Variability: Fluctuations in baby’s heartrate seen on the fetal monitor.

Womb: A hollow organ where a baby develops and grows until birth Located in the pelvis. The medical term is the “uterus.”