Sometimes people in medical fields use lots of abbreviations to save themselves time.  This can get confusing for patients trying to decipher their medical records or research an obstetric issue.

Here is a page of birth-related jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms to help you navigate the minefield of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) and other obscurities in obstetric literature and medical records.

Several sources were used to compile this list, including:
For finding other medical abbreviations, try searching here or here.

To clarify the abbreviations, I have often capitalized the letters of the definition to align with the letters of the abbreviation, even when the correct spelling of the word/phrase does not use this capitalization (for example, PP = "postpartum" with correct spelling, but I wrote it as "PostPartum" to clarify what the capitals stand for).  Keep in mind that the way I used it for this page does not necessarily reflect the correct spelling of the full word.

I have written a short layperson's explanation of certain terms beside some definitions.  Obviously, I am not a healthcare professional, so insert caveats.  If in doubt, consult your provider.

I have also included some common medical abbreviations, some common medical organization acronyms, and some specific-interest lists (like those that are fertility-related, research-related, gynecological-related, or VBAC-related).

Hope this is helpful.  Enjoy!
p.s. If you have other terms or abbreviations you would like to see added, you can email me, kmom AT plus-size-pregnancy DOT org, to suggest them.  Be patient; it might take a while to add them, but I do read and consider all my email.  
p.p.s. If you would like to link to this page, go ahead.  If you would like to utilize part of this list on your own blog or other publication, you may do so if you take out my explanations, cite this source properly, and notify me.

General Birth-Related Terms

AB - Abortion (can mean miscarriage or induced; it's just the end of a pregnancy before 20 weeks)
AFI - Amnionic Fluid Index (measurement of amniotic fluid during an ultrasound)
AGA - Appropriate for Gestational Age (fetus of an average/appropriate size for its age)
AC - Abdominal Circumference (a measurement of the fetal abdomen during an ultrasound)
AFP - Alpha Fetoprotein
AMA - Advanced Maternal Age (generally 35+; AMA can also be Against Medical Advice)
AFI - Amniotic Fluid Index
AROM - Artificial Rupture of Membranes (i.e. breaking the mother's waters)
BOW - Bag Of Waters
BP - Blood Pressure
BPD - Bi-Parietal Diameter (a measurement of the fetal head during an ultrasound)
bpm - beats per minute (as in a heart rate)
BPP - BioPhysical Profile (an more in-depth test of fetal wellbeing)
CPD - CephaloPelvic Disproportion
CS - Cesarean Section (a surgical delivery through the abdomen)
CSE - Combined Spinal Epidural (regional anesthesia using both epidural and spinal spaces)
CST - Contraction Stress Test (another test of fetal wellbeing, using pitocin)
Ctx - Contractions
CVS - Chorionic Villi Sampling (a type of prenatal test)
DC or d/c - DisContinue (medicine or treatment discontinued)
D & C - Dilatation & Curettage
D & E - Dilatation & Evacuation
DIC - Disseminating Intravascular Coagulopathy (when the blood can no longer clot properly)
DM - Diabetes Mellitus (can be several types; DMT2 is Type 2 diabetes, DMT1 is type 1, GD is gestational diabetes mellitus)
DOB - Date Of Birth
EBL - Estimated Blood Loss (after birth, providers estimate how much blood was lost)
EDD or EDC - Estimated Date of Delivery, or Estimated Date of Confinement (old-fashioned term)
EFM - Electronic Fetal Monitoring (cEFM = Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring)
EFW - Estimated Fetal Weight
EGA - Estimated Gestational Age
FAVD - Forceps-Assisted Vaginal Delivery
FBS - Fasting Blood Sugar or Fetal Blood Sampling (either use can be seen)
FFN or fFN - fetal FibroNectin (a test to see if the cervix is softening prematurely)
FH - Fundal Height (where the provider can feel the top of the uterus)
FHR/FHT - Fetal Heart Rate/Fetal Heart Tracing or Fetal Heart Tone
FLM - Fetal Lung Maturity
FOB - Father Of Baby
FSE - Fetal Scalp Electrode
FSPO2 - Fetal Oxygenation
FTP - Failure To Progress
GBS - Group B Strep (group beta streptococcus)
GCT - Glucose Challenge Test (1 hour screening test of 50g of glucola to test for GD)
GD or GDM - Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
GH - Gestational Hypertension (latest name for PIH)
GTD - Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
GTT - Glucose Tolerance Test (diagnostic test for GD, using either the 3-hour 100g glucola load common in the U.S.A. or the 2-hour 75g glucola load recommended by WHO)
HELLP - Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelets
HSV - Herpes Simplex Virus
HTN - HyperTension  (high blood pressure)
I/A - Induction and/or Augmentation
IOL - Induction Of Labor
IP - IntraPartum
IUD - IntraUterine Device
IUFD - IntraUterine Fetal Death
IUGR - IntraUterine Growth Retardation
IUP - IntraUterine Pregnancy
IUPC - IntraUterine Pressure Catheter
L/C/P - Long, Closed, Posterior cervix
LDR -  Labor, Delivery, Recovery
LDRP - Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum
LEEP - Loop Electrical Excision Procedure (a procedure on the cervix)
LGA - Large for Gestational Age (a baby bigger than the average baby)
LMP - Last Menstrual Period
LOA/LOT/LOP - Left Occiput Anterior/Transverse/Posterior (orientation of the back of baby's head in the mother's pelvis)
LTCS/LVCS - Low Transverse C-Section/Low Vertical C-Section
MAS - Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
ME - Median or Midline Episiotomy (cut from the vagina straight down towards the anus)
MLE - Medio-Lateral Episiotomy (cut from the vagina down but angled to the side)
MOB - Mother Of Baby
MSAFP - Maternal Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein (prenatal screening test for birth defects)
MVU - Montevideo Units (how pitocin dosages are measured)
NB - Newborn
NBN - Newborn Nursery
NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
NKDA/NDA - No (Known) Drug Allergy
NPO - Non Per Os (nothing by mouth; patient is not to eat or drink)
NRFS - Non-Reassuring Fetal Status
NST - Non-Stress Test (a test of fetal wellbeing)
NSVD - Normal Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery
NT - Nuchal Translucency (prenatal test for Down Syndrome)
NTD - Neural Tube Defect (usually meningomyelocele or spina bifida)
OCP - Oral Contraceptive Pills (also seen as BCP = Birth Control Pills)
OT - Occiput Transverse
PCOS - PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome
PE - Pre-Eclampsia (many terms are used interchangeably by some people, although they are not technically the same; these include PE, PIH, GH, toxemia, etc.)
PGE1 - Prostaglandin E1 (induction drug, generic name misoprostol, trade name Cytotec)
PGE2 - Prostaglandin E2 (induction drug, trade names Cervadil, Prepidil, etc.)
PIH - Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (rising blood pressure near the end of pregnancy, but not necessarily with organ involvement)
PNV - PreNatal Vitamins
PO - Per Os (means taking a medicine or food/liquids by mouth)
POC - Products of Conception
POD/PPD - Post-Operative Day/PostPartum Day
PP - PostPartum
PPD - PostPartum Depression
PPP - PostPartum Psychosis
PPH - Postpartum Hemorrhage
PPROM - Preterm Premature Rupture Of Membranes
PR - Per Rectum (medicine inserted in the rectum)
PROM - Premature Rupture Of Membranes
PTL - Pre-Term Labor
PUBS - Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling
PUPPPS - Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (an itching condition)
PV - Per Vagina
ROA/ROT/ROP - Right Occiput Anterior/Transverse/Posterior
ROM - Rupture Of Membranes (when the mother's water breaks)
SGA - Small for Gestational Age (a baby smaller than the average baby)
SOB - Short Of Breath
SROM - Spontaneous Rupture Of Membranes (when the mother's water breaks on its own)
STI or STD - Sexually Transmitted Infection/Disease
SVE - Sterile Vaginal Exam
UC - Uterine Contraction; in some circles, "Unassisted Childbirth" instead
US - Ultrasound
VAVD/VAD - Vacuum-Assisted Vaginal Delivery or Vacuum Assisted Delivery
VBAC - Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
VBB - Vaginal Breech Birth
VE - Vaginal Exam
WBD - Weeks By Dates (by LMP)
3VC - Three-Vessel Cord (umbilical cord)

Mother's Pregnancy History

G = Gravida means number of Pregnancies
P = Parity means number of deliveries > 20 weeks
Ptpal (TPAL = Term, Preterm, Abortion/miscarriage, Live child)
Term = > 37 wks, < 42 wks, or >2500 gms
Preterm = 20-37 wks, >500 gms, <2500gms
Post term = >42 weeks
Puerperium = birth - 42 days postpartum
Trimesters: 1st <12 weeks, 2nd = 13 - 28 weeks, 3rd = >28 weeks

Usually written as a formula:
  • G#P# - gravida, para
  • G - total # of pregnancies
  • P - total # of delivered pregnancies
  • T - total # of term deliveries (after 37 weeks)
  • P - total # of preterm deliveries (20-36 weeks)
  • A - total # of abortions/miscarriages (before 20 weeks)
  • L - total # of living children
* Note: for TPA twins count as one number, but for L they count as two

VBAC-Related Terms

CBAC - Cesarean Birth After Cesarean (when a VBAC is desired but another CS occurs)
CPD - CephaloPelvic Disproportion (inequality between the size of the baby and the size of the mother's pelvis; may be relative due to fetal malposition or more absolute due to mother's pelvis)
CSAC - Cesarean Surgery After Cesarean (when a VBAC is desired but another CS occurs)
CS - Cesarean Section, or c-section
ERCS or ERCD - Elective Repeat Cesarean Section (or Delivery)
FTP - Failure To Progress (a stalled or slower-than-average labor)
HIE - Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
HBAC - Home Birth After Cesarean
ICD-9 - International Classification of Diseases, 9th Edition/Revision (code on birth certificates/medical records)
IUPC - IntraUterine Pressure Catheter
RCS or RCD - Repeat Cesarean Section (or Delivery)
RDS - Respiratory Distress Syndrome (trouble breathing at birth, common in babies born by planned cesareans)
TOL - Trial of Labor ("trial of scar" is the term many British-influenced groups use)
TOLAC - Trial of Labor After Cesarean (term many organizations use)
TTN - Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
UBAC - Unassisted Birth After Cesarean
UR - Uterine Rupture (when the uterus pulls apart or separates)
VBAC - Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, pronounced vee-back
VBA2C - Vaginal Birth After 2 Cesareans (medical research uses VBAC-2 sometimes)
2VBAC - 2nd VBAC (after 1 cesarean)
VBAMC or VBAmC - Vaginal Birth After Multiple Cesareans
WBAC - Waterbirth After Cesarean

GYN-Related Abbreviations

AGUS - Atypical Glandular Cells of Unknown Significance
ASCUS - Atypical Squamous Cells of Unknown Significance
BSO - Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries and tubes on both side)
BTL - Bilateral Tubal Ligation (cutting of Fallopian tubes on both sides)
CIN - Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
EMB - EndoMetrial Biopsy
ERT - Estrogen Replacement Therapy
HGSIL - High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion
HPL - Human Placental Lactogen
HPV - Human Papilloma Virus
HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy
HSG - HysteroSalpingoGram
LGSIL - Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion
MI - Menstrual Index (age of patient at 1st period/cycle length/duration of period)
NMDC - No Malignant or Dysplastic Cells (pap smear results)
PID - Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
TAH - Total Abdominal Hysterectomy
TOA - Tubo-Ovarian Abscess
TVH - Total Vaginal Hysterectomy 
VAIN - Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia
VIN - Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia

Fertility-Related Terms

BHCG - Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (usually serum)
GIFT - Gamete Intra-Fallopian Tube Transfer
HCG - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
ICSI - IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IUI - IntraUterine Insemination
IVF - In Vitro Fertilization
UHCG - Urinary Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

General Medical Abbreviations

abx - antibiotics
c - with (think of the Spanish word, con, meaning "with")
CO2 - Carbon Dioxide
Fe - iron
fx - fracture
hx - history
h/o - history of
IPPV - Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation
- potassium
n/v - nausea and vomiting
O2 - oxygen
pt - patient
rx/Rx - prescription or treatment (or shorthand way to say pharmacist or pharmacy)
s - without (think of the French word, sans, meaning "without")
sx - symptoms
tx - treatment

Pharmacy/Medication Abbreviations

ac - before eating (ante consumption)
achs - before meals and at bedtime
bid - twice a day
buccal - dissolved in the cheek
fl or fL - fluid liter
h - hour
hs - hour of sleep (i.e., take at bedtime)
im - intramuscularly
iv - intravenously
mL or ml - milliliter (should be mL but people aren't always careful)
mg - milligram
mcg or µ- microgram
µg/L - micrograms per liter
mmHg - millimeters of mercury
mU/min- milliunit per minute
pc - after eating (post consumption)
prn or ad lib - as needed
q - every (q4h would mean every 4 hours)
qid - four times a day
sq - subcutaneously (under the skin)
sl - sublingual (under the tongue)
tid - three times a day

Research Terms

AE - Adverse Events
CI - Confidence Interval
FMR - Fetal Mortality Rate
MFMU - Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit
n - number in the study group
NMR - Neonatal Mortality Rate
NNH - Number Needed to Harm
NR - Not Reported 
NS - Not significant
OR - Odds Ratio
PMR - Perinatal Mortality Rate
RCT - Randomized Controlled Trial (gold standard for research)
RR - Relative Risk
SD - Standard Deviation


AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics
AAFP - American Academy of Family Practitioners
ACOG - American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (used to American College of...)
ACNM - American College of Nurse-Midwives
AHRQ - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and prevention
FDA - Food and Drug Administration
IOM - Institute of Medicine
MANA - Midwives Alliance of North America
NIH - National Institute of Health
NHS - National Health Services (British health service organization)
USPSTF - United States Preventive Services Task Force
WHO - World Health Organization


Anonymous said...

I so appreciate all the suggestions given, because I suffer from skin yeast infections, I have RA and am on a steroid once daily as well as having been on numerous antibiotics for reacurring UTI's. I am currently suffering with a breakout under my breasts and also under the fold of my stomach, this is always the places I break out. I am assuming that before beginning any the treatments I should wash the areas with soap and water and dry throughly? I may have missed it, but does anyone else have burning and an odor along with redness and somewhat wet skin? I have tried the prescription drug, Diflucan, but it gets to be expensive and also I don't like putting it in my body as often as I have infections.

Well-Rounded Mama said...

This should go on the Skin Yeast post, but yes, wash and dry thoroughly first. Use a blowdryer on cool. Try the Squeaky Cheeks powder, which might help dry things out even more than regular powder. Try a little first in a small area to make sure it doesn't bother you. It has a special type of clay (plus essential oils) that help dry out particularly "wet" skin yeast. You're right, the steroids can make it a chronic issue. You might also need to do some internal work with probiotics and such to balance your insides as well as the outsides.