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carrier screening: a test done on a person with no signs or symptoms to find out if they carry a gene for a genetic disorder.

Chromosomes: structures found within each cell of the body. they contain the genes that determine a person’s physical makeup.

complications: diseases or conditions that occur as a result of another disease or condition. An example is pneumonia that occurs as a result of the flu. a complication can also occur as a result of a condition, such as pregnancy. An example of a pregnancy complication is preterm labor.

diagnostic tests: tests that look for a disease or the cause of a disease.

down syndrome (trisomy 21): a genetic disorder that causes abnormal features of the face and body, medical problems such as heart defects, and mental disability. Most cases of Down syndrome are caused by an extra chromosome 21 (trisomy 21).

ova: the female reproductive cells produced and released from the ovaries. also called ovum.

embryos: the stage of prenatal development that begins at fertilization (union of an egg and a sperm) and lasts up to 8 weeks.

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endometriosis: a condition in which the tissue lining the uterus is found outside the uterus, usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic structures.

fetus: the stage of human development beyond 8 completed weeks after fertilization.

fibroids: growths that form in the muscle of the uterus. fibroids are usually not cancerous.

Folic Acid: A vitamin that reduces the risk of certain birth defects when taken before and during pregnancy.

genetic disorders: disorders caused by a change in genes or chromosomes.

high blood pressure: blood pressure above the normal level. also called hypertension.

in vitro fertilization (IVF): a procedure in which an egg is removed from a woman’s ovary, fertilized in a laboratory with the man’s sperm, and then transferred to the woman’s uterus woman to get pregnant.

menstrual cycle: the monthly process of changes that occur to prepare a woman’s body for a possible pregnancy. A menstrual cycle is defined as the first day of menstrual bleeding in one cycle through the first day of menstrual bleeding in the next cycle.

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miscarriage: loss of a pregnancy that is in the uterus.

multiple pregnancy: a pregnancy in which there are two or more fetuses.

neural tube defects (ntds): birth defects that result from a problem in the development of the brain, spinal cord, or their coverings.

obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn): a doctor with special training and education in women’s health.

Oocyte cryopreservation: A procedure in which eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries and frozen for later use in in vitro fertilization (IVF).

ovaries: organs in women that contain the eggs needed to become pregnant and produce important hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

pre-eclampsia: a disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth in which there is high blood pressure and other signs of organ damage. these signs include an abnormal amount of protein in the urine, a low number of platelets, abnormal kidney or liver function, pain in the upper abdomen, fluid in the lungs, or severe headache or vision changes.

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prenatal care: a program of care for a pregnant woman before the birth of her baby.

premature: less than 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Screening tests: Tests that look for possible signs of disease in people who have no signs or symptoms.

sexually transmitted infections (STIs): infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. Infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS]).

sperm: a cell produced in the male testes that can fertilize a female egg.

stillbirth: birth of a stillborn fetus.

uterus: muscular organ in the female pelvis. During pregnancy, this organ supports and nourishes the fetus. also called matrix.

vaccines: substances that help the body fight disease. Vaccines are made from very small amounts of weak or dead disease-causing agents (bacteria, toxins, and viruses).

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