16  Pregnancy Terms That Sound Like Something They're Not
Fun Stuff Being Pregnant

16 Pregnancy Terms That Sound Like Something They're Not

By Emily Ramirez

The English language is full of weird words. Tittynope. Winklepicker. Bibble. If you have the time you can really fall down quite the rabbit hole - and maybe score some points at your next trivia night.

But these everyday words don’t hold a candle to the weirdness that happens when you get pregnant. Because ya know, what’s helpful when you’re experiencing something as bizarre as growing a whole ass baby from just two cells is describing things in a way that sounds like you’re playing a drinking game. Super helpful.

Now of course some of these make perfect sense if you’re in the medical field, or you majored in Latin. For the rest of us lowly mortals, however, these phrases often lead to more questions than answers - or at the very least, an unpleasant visual.

Here are 16 of the most absurd pregnancy words and phrases that could really use an upgrade:

woman named lochia in a field


What it sounds like: The name of your neighbor’s babysitter who attends Cochella, wears crop tops regardless of the weather and hasn’t met a floppy hat she wouldn’t put on Instagram.

What it is: The bloody discharge that shows up after the baby gets here and sticks around for about 6 weeks too long.

woman pointing to lanugo on the menu for a waiter


What it sounds like: Something you’d find being served at a classy Italian joint that you didn’t know what it was, but you ordered it anyway because it came with garlic butter, Parmesan, and asparagus.

What it is: The very fine hair that covers your baby while they’re in utero. Sometimes they’re born with it, other times it falls out before they pull the ripcord (or are ejected out the sunroof).

band memebers of Irritable Uterus

Irritable Uterus

What it sounds like: A gender-inclusive neo-punk band that might perform at a certain Supreme Court Justice’s house and get accused of harassment.

What it is: When the uterus regularly contracts without shortening the cervix or progressing labor.

scene of a woman standing over a dead man on the floor

Bloody Show

What it sounds like: Quentin Tarantino’s next cinematic release where he removes any semblance of a plot and just gets to the murdery bits.

What it is: That magical moment when you pass your mucus plug. Sometimes it’s obvious, either because of texture, quantity and/or color, and other times it’s less of a show and more of a drawn out event.

printer with stalled labor error

Stalled Labor

What it sounds like: The error message your printer gives you every time you try to print something important.

What it is: When you’re in labor with regular, established contractions, and they space out or stop all together.

chefs asking "you did the fundal massage oui?"

Fundal Massage

What it sounds like: Something you’d do to mushrooms before you make a stir fry.

What it is: A not-so-relaxing massage of the top of your uterus (the fundus) performed by your medical team after you deliver your baby to firm up your uterus and reduce bleeding.

theatre marquee showing cervical hostility

Cervical Hostility

What it sounds like: Danielle Steel and Tom Clancy’s NYT bestseller about a woman who was wrongly fired from the CIA, and ends up stopping World War III using her wit, good looks, and (obviously) her cervix.

What it is: When the pH of the cervical mucus kills off or hinders the advance of the sperm before it gets to the egg. Plot twist: what if the sperm are just weak? You ever think of that?

man texting coworker

Incompetent Cervix

What it sounds like: What autocorrect replaced your rushed and unintelligible text attempt at saying “important changes” with, and ended up making it reaaaaaaally awkward with your coworker.

What it is: When your cervical tissue opens or weakens prematurely. (We’ve got a great piece on a successful cerclage placement here.)

woman on a boat in a vacation destination

Maternity Leave

What it sounds like (to naive people): V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N

What it is: Hell. Heaven. Chaos. Bliss. Everything good and everything hard. A complete metamorphosis.

lightning crotch super hero

Lightning Crotch

What it sounds like: The origin story for Marvel’s next superhero, Bolt Babe.

What it is: A sharp, internal pain that zaps your nether regions when you’re pregnant (or, if you’re really lucky, sometimes when you’re not.) Huzzah!

dog getting a belly rub

Labor Down

What it sounds like: A command you’d give a working dog when they’re all done for the day because they’re a Very Good Dog and they deserve a rest and a treat.

What it is: Intentionally not pushing for 1-2 hours after you enter the second stage of labor. (This is no longer best practice, so keep that in mind if you’re writing a birth plan or interviewing care providers.)

figure skater on ice

Lazy Uterus

What it sounds like: Something you’d see in an ice dancing competition that involves holding your arms out like fallopian tubes, and then meandering (gracefully) around the ice.

What it is: When your uterus doesn’t contract after birth, potentially causing some serious complications (hemorrhaging), and one reason for the ol’ Fundal Massage we learned about earlier.

old painting of King George and family

Grand Multiparity

What it sounds like: A member of the Royal Family. Probably very old. Probably wears clothes that look like curtains and cost more than your car.

What it is: Giving birth five or more times.

pest control in a kitchen


What it sounds like: A pest control company based in a strip mall next to an insurance company and a party supply store.

What it is: The white, cheesy looking protective covering newborns when they’re first born. It's made of fatty acids, protein, and water and acts as a moisturizing barrier for your baby's skin.

old newspaper with geriatric pregnancy heading

Geriatric Pregnancy

What it sounds like: Something you’d see on the cover of a National Enquirer next to a photo of a UFO and Elvis, alive and well.

What it is: Pregnancy after the age of 70…oh wait, no, HALF of 70. 35. Pregnancy over the age of 35. Ouch. (For the record, there are much better alternatives available for the worst offenders on the list, including this one, but not everywhere is using them.)

What word or phrase really gets your goat when it comes to pregnancy or beyond?

These words are just a tiny smattering of what's out there, floating around confusing and low-key offending pregnant women as they go from one to two (or more!) to one again. Which one bugs you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Our Next Reco: Other Things Not to Say to a New Mom

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