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- Of words on this site and medical terms used in hospital


The presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell, for example a human cell having 45 or 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. It does not include a difference of one or more complete sets of chromosomes. A cell with any number of complete chromosome sets is called a euploid cell.


Blighted ovum (Anembryonic Pregnancy)

Anembryonic means no embryo. A fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, there will be a pregnancy sac but the embryo does not develop.


Body (Burial and Cremation Act 1964)

Body means a dead human body and includes the body of a stillborn child


D&C (Dilation and Curettage)

Surgical procedure, opening of the neck of the womb and clearing out the lining of the womb using a small spoon-like instrument with a long handle (curette) to remove tissue. See  EVAC.


Cervical Os

This refers to the opening in the lower part of the cervix.


Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic means abnormal place or position so an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus. The most common ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg implants in the fallopian tube. ​



Early Pregnancy Assessment Service at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.



Surgical procedure, evacuation of retained products of conception. Also known as vacuum aspiration, Suction Curettage, MVAC or D&C



The baby developing in the womb



The length of the pregnancy, taken from the first day of the last menstrual cycle. 

IUD (Intra Uterine Device)

An IUD is a type of long-acting reversible contraception. It is a small, T-shaped object that goes inside your uterus.

LMC Lead Maternity Carer

Can be your GP, midwife,  or specialist.


MVAC (Manual Vacuum Aspiration Curettage)

After a miscarriage, a small operation using a small instrument to open the cervix and remove the remaining pregnancy tissue using a suction device. Usually carried out under local anaesthetic. See also EVAC



Losing a baby during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is called a miscarriage. Miscarriage can also be called spontaneous abortion.

Misoprostol (Cytotec)

Misoprostol, a prostaglandin (see prostaglandin) E1 analogue, has been used off-label for many years as a safe and effective treatment for first trimester incomplete miscarriage. Misoprostol binds to smooth muscle myometrium and causes uterine contractions. Oral, sublingual, buccal, and vaginal preparations are absorbed systemically. Doses range from 200 to 800 mcg and are generally repeated once in 24 to 72 hours.


Molar Pregnancy (hydatidiform mole)

A non-viable fertilized egg implants in the uterus and the surrounding tissue develops abnormally.


‘Period like Cramps’ 

Often used to describe the uterine contractions of miscarriage. An understatement! 


Pessary or Pessaries

Inserted into the vagina in Medical Management of miscarriage. Often the prostaglandin, misoprostol. 


Products of Conception POC

Refers to any tissue derived from the union of an egg and a sperm and includes placental, embryonic or foetal tissue.



Prostaglandin is a hormone that softens your cervix, your body produces its own prostaglandins when labour begins naturally. 


PV Bleeding

PV is short for the latin  term ‘per vaginam’ that means ‘through the vagina’.



Ultrasound waves used to visualise the womb and its contents. 


Spontaneous Abortion

Miscarriage - threatened, incomplete, complete, inevitable, missed. 



Spotting is considered a light or trace amount of pink, red, or dark brown (rust-colored) blood. You may notice spotting when you use the restroom or see a few drops of blood on your underwear. It will be lighter than your menstrual period. There won’t be enough blood to cover a panty liner.



Losing a baby after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is called a stillbirth.


Still-born Child (Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995)

still-born child means a dead foetus that—

(a) weighed 400 g or more when it issued from its mother; or

(b) issued from its mother after the 20th week of pregnancy



Each third of the pregnancy (approximately 13 weeks each). 




misoprostol definition
IUD definition
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