Understanding Your Notes

Many people request copies of their maternity notes after a traumatic birth. To guide you when reading through them at home, we have compiled the list below with the help of a midwife (Thanks Angela!).


28+3 28 weeks and three days pregnant
ABO Blood test to check what your blood group is – Different Blood Groups
Above Spines Where baby is positioned in the pelvis in relation to the ischial spines (landmarks on the pelvis)
AC Abdominal circumference
AF Artificial feed i.e. bottle fed
Anal Dilatation As baby’s is being pushed out and gets nearer the entrance to the vagina, the anus (bottom) begins to slightly open
ANC Antenatal clinic
Apgars Score given to all newborn babies at 1/5/10 minutes of age measuring colour / tone/ heart rate/ respiratory effort / respiratory stimulation
APH Ante partum haemorrhage. Bleed whilst pregnant
ARM Artificial Rupture of Membranes (having your waters broken)
BF Breast Fed
BO Bowels opened
BNO Bowels not opened
BP Blood Pressure e.g. 120/70 (the lower figure should not be higher than 90)
BPD Biparietal Diameter – Measurement from one side of baby’s head to the other across the top of the head
BR Breech (Bottom down)
Bupivicane Drug use for Epidural
Caput ++ Soft Tissue Swelling on the baby’s head noted on vaginal examination (each + will denote severity)
Catheter Sterile plastic tube used to drain urine out of the bladder via the Urethra
CEPH Cephalic (Head-down)
C/S or CS Caesarean section
Contractions FS-S 1:3 Contractions Fairly Strong-Strong. Having one every 3 minutes
CTG Cardiotocograph – Monitor to record uterine activity and baby’s heart rate
CVS Chorionic Villus Sampling
Cx Cervix
D&C Dilatation and curettage
Dilated Usually written in relation to the cervix dilating in labour – cervix gradually opening
EDD Estimated date of delivery
Effaced Cervix Thinning – Starts off at 2.5 cm long and things through labour to become paper thin (effaced)
Entonox Gas and Air – Pain Relief in Labour O2 + Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Epidural Anaesthesia delivered by a fine catheter (inserted by an anaesthetist) into the epidural space in your back – lumber area. Tube stays in place once inserted and midwives give prescribed doses of epidural drug via the tube as needed, for pain relief.
ELSCS Elective Lower Segment Caesarean Section
Eng Engaged (your baby’s head is sitting in the pelvis)
FBC Full blood count
F/D or FD Forceps Delivery
Fe / FE04 Iron Tablets
Fundus Top of the Uterous
FHH / FHHR Fetal Heart Heard /Regular
FHNH Fetal Heart not Heard (can just mean your baby was lying in an awkward position!)
FMF Fetal Movements Felt
FMNF Fetal Movements not Felt
Forewaters Bag of fluid in front of your baby’s head
Forceps Instruments used by Doctors to cradle your baby’s head whilst assisting in delivery
GA General Anaesthetic
Hb Haemoglobin i.e. Iron levels ( a low Hb level indicates anaemia)
H/T Hypertension/high blood pressure
HVS High Vaginal Swab
IM Intra muscular
IOL Induction of Labour
IV Intra venous (going into vein)
IVI Intra venous infusion i.e. a drip
Ketones Chemical produced by your body when dehydrated – usually noted in urine test
LA Local Anaesthetic
Liquor Fluid around the baby / waters
Lithotomy Both legs placed in stirrups for procedure or delivery
LOA The back of your baby's head is on your left-hand side and towards the front of your tummy
LOP The back of your baby's head is on your left-hand side and towards the back of your tummy
LSCS Lower segment caesarean section
Mec Meconium
Moulding + Over-riding of baby’s skull bones felt during a vaginal examination (+ denotes how much)
NAD Nothing abnormal detected
N/Eng Not engaged
NNU / SCBU Neonatal Unit / Special Care Baby Unit
OP Occiput Posterior (T his means your baby’s spine is next to yours, which can result in a more painful labour)
OP Deflexed Deflexed – Baby’s chin is not tucked on it s chest – its at a 90 degree angle to chest
OA or O/A Occiput Anterior
Obl Oblique Lie – Baby is lying diagonally in utero
Oed Oedema
Oedematous Swollen – Fluid Retention
P Pulse
Palp Palpable - w hen your baby’s head starts to engage, your midwife will note how much of your baby’s head is palpable (i.e can be felt) 4/5 indicates that your baby has started to engage, 1/5 means nearly engaged.
Palpation Abdominal Examination
Pethadine Opiate Pain Relief used in labour – Intra Muscular Injection
PPH Post Partum Haemorrhage
PIH Pregnancy induced hypertension (high bp)
PET Pre-eclamptic toxaemia
PMH Past medical history
PR Per Rectum Examination
PROM Prelabour rupture of membranes
PPROM Preterm prelabour rupture of membranes, ie before 37 weeks
PP The PP is the presenting part, which will be born first ie PP Cephalic – Head First
PU Passed Urine
Ranitidine Oral Antacids – Tablet form
Reduced baseline Fetal Heart Rate baseline lower on the CTG monitor than previously noted or lower than normal limits
ROA The back of your baby's head is on your right-hand side and towards the front of your tummy
ROM Rupture of Membranes
SCBU Special care baby unit
Sodium Citrate Oral Antacids given prior to theatre
SHO Senior house officer
SPD Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction
Speculum Instrument used to visualise cervix during a smear of HVS ( High Vaginal Swab )
SROM Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes (when your waters break)
Syntocinon Synthetic Hormone to make your uterus contract
T / Temp Temperature
TOS Trial of Scar
Tr / Trans Transverse ie Lying sideways
U&E Urea and Electrolytes
USS Ultrasound Scan
VBAC Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean Section
+ve Positive
-ve Negative
VE Vaginal examination
Ventouse Instrument used to help deliver baby. Suction cap placed on top of baby’s head.
Vx Vertex – Top of the Baby’s head
Variability Difference between each heart beat of the baby on the CTG monitor – depicts fetal wellbeing