Get quick definitions of many of the most common pregnancy terms here! From fertility treatment terminology to common pregnancy conditions to the stages of labor, find out more about the hundreds of new words you will be hearing.
D is for...

D&C
Category: High risk/Complications
A D&C (Dilation and Curettage) is a minor operation in which the cervix is expanded enough (dilation) to permit the cervical canal and uterine lining (endometrium) to be scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette (curettage). This procedure is sometimes done in the event of a miscarriage or during an abortion.
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Diabetes
Category: Mom's health
A chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce insulin and properly break down sugar (glucose) in the blood. Symptoms include hunger, thirst, excessive urination, dehydration and weight loss. The treatment of diabetes requires daily insulin injections, proper nutrition and regular exercise.
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Diaphragmatic hernia
Category: Birth defects
Herniation of the abdominal contents through the diaphragm into the thoracic cavity usually resulting in respiratory distress.
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Dilation
Category: Labor and birth
During the first stage of labor, the cervix widens to 10 centimeters (about the size of a wide-mouthed jar), a process called dilation.
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Dilation and curettage
Category: High risk/Complications
A minor operation in which the cervix is expanded enough (dilation) to permit the cervical canal and uterine lining (endometrium) to be scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette (curettage). Also called D&C, this procedure is sometimes done in the event of a miscarriage or during an abortion.
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DNA
Category: Pregnancy/Birth/Other
The substance of heredity; a large molecule that carries the genetic information that cells need to replicate and to produce proteins. DNA is a double-stranded molecule held together by weak bonds between base pairs of nucleotides. The four nucleotides in DNA contain the bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). In nature, base pairs form only between A and T and between G and C; thus the base sequence of each single strand can be deduced from that of its partner.
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DONA
Category: Labor and birth
Doulas of North America, a professional organization for doulas. Marshall Klaus MD, Phyllis Klaus, John Kennell MD, Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy founded DONA, or Doulas of North America, in 1992. The organization is non-profit, and continues to be one of the largest certifying organizations for doulas, professional labor assistants.
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Donor embryo
Category: Conception and fertility
An embryo formed from the egg of a woman who has donated it for transfer to a woman who is unable to conceive with her own eggs (the recipient). The donor relinquishes all parental rights to any resulting offspring.
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Doppler
Category: General pregnancy
An ultrasound device used to listen to the fetal heart. Also sometimes called a Doptone.
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Doula
Category: Labor and birth
Professional labor assistant, usually a woman, who provides emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual support to the laboring mother.
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Down Syndrome
Category: Birth defects
Also known as Trisomy 21, Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal disorder. This syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra #21 chromosome and is highly variable clinically. Some infants with trisomy 21 are stillborn. In liveborn children mental retardation may range from mild to severe/profound.
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Dysfunctional labor
Category: Labor and birth
Failure to progress in a clinically normal pattern of labor.
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