The following definitions may be helpful when reading the package inserts of the drugs discussed in this web site.
Acidosis: abnormal balance of cerebral oxygen (a pathologic condition in blood gases whereby there is accumulation of acid and hydrogen ions in the blood and tissues, decreasing the pH.)
Afibrinogenemia: deficiency or absence of fibrinogen (coagulating factor in the blood).
Anaphylactic reaction: exaggerated allergic reaction.
Arrhythmias or cardiac arrhythmias:variation from the normal rhythm of the heartbeat.
Atelectasis: incomplete expansion of newborn's lungs at birth.
Bell's palsy: unilateral facial paralysis of sudden onset due to a lesion of the facial nerve.
Blood clot: a clumping in the blood stream, primarily of platelets, with fibrin and cells.
Bradycardia: abnormal slowing of the fetal heart rate.
Cerebrovascular accident: stroke.
Cerebrum: the main portion of the brain (and the largest part of the central nervous system in man), occupying the upper portion of the cranial cavity.
Chorioamnionitis: inflamation of fetal membranes.
Coma: unconsciousness that cannot be roused.
Convulsions: violent, involuntary muscle contractions.
Cyanosis: bluish colored skin due a reduction of oxygen in the hemoglobin.
Dendrite: threadlike extensions of the neuron, composing most of the receptive surface of a neuron.
Diaphoresis: profuse sweating.
Dyspnea: difficult or labored breathing.
Embolus: a mass of clotted blood or other material moved by the blood from one vessel and forced into a smaller one.
Edema: presence or accumulation of an excess of fluid in the intercellular or subcutaneous tissue beneath the skin.
Effect: result produced by an action.
Embryo: developing human organism from 4 days after fertilization to the end of the eight week.
Encephalopathy: any degenerative brain disease.
Endocervically: applied at the uterine end of the cervix.
Erb's palsy: Disruption of the normal movements of the newborn infant's arms and hands, frequently due to nerve injury resulting from the overdistention of the baby's head during birth. The effect is usually transient, but can be permanent.
Erythrocyte: red blood cell containing hemoglobin and transporting oxygen.
Fatal oxytocin-induced water intoxication: undue retention of water, marked by vomiting, depression of temperature, convulsions, and coma and may end in death.
Febrile: Pertaining to fever.
Fibrilation: small, local, involuntary muscle contractions.
Fundal pressure: external pressure applied to the top of the uterus when the laboring woman has lost her ability to bear down effectively. Fundal pressure can cause the uterus to invert.
Glia or neuroglia: a glue like substance in the brain that makes myelin to insulate and protect the neurons, guides neurons to their appropriate home within the fetus's developing brain, and helps the neuron develop synapses.
Hematocrit: percentage of erythrocytes in whole blood.
Hematoma: a collection of blood, usually clotted, in an organ or tissue.
Hematuria: blood in the urine.
Hydrops fetalis: gross edema of the entire body wih severe anemia occurring in the hemolytic diseaseas in the newborn.
Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure.
Hypotension: abnormally low blood pressure.
Hypothermia: abnormally low core body temperature to 32° C (95° F).
Ileus: intestinal obstruction due to inhibition of bowel motility.
Infarct: area of eschemic necrosis produced by occlusion of the arterial supply.
Intrathecal injection: injection through the theca membrane and into the subarachnoid space surrounding the spinal cord.
Ischemia: deficiency of blood in a body part, usually due to constriction or obstruction of a blood vessel.
Ischemia necrosis: death of tissue due to loss of oxygenated blood to an area of the body.
Latent effects: hidden, present but not visible, dormant, potential.
Meningismus: symptoms of meningitis with acute febrile illness but without infection.
Miosis: excessive contraction of pupils.
Myelin: a fat-like substance that forms a protective sheath around nerve fibers
Myometrium: the lining of the uterus.
Necrosis: cellular changes that indicate death of tissue.
Neuroglia: supporting structure of nervous tissue. Appears to play a role in myelin formation.
Neuron: Nerve fiber.
Oliguria: secretion of a diminished amount of urine in relation to fluid intake.
Parturient: pertaining to birth, a woman in labor.
Pathognomonic: specific characteristics of a disease.
Pelvic Hematoma: collection of blood or a clot in the pelvis.
PH: symbol denoting acidity or alkalinity of the blood (pH 7 is neutral; below 7 denotes acidity, above 7 denotes alkilinity).
Postpartum hemorrhage: uterine bleeding following birth which can to lead to hysterectomy if it becomes uncontrollable.
Pregnancy: the condition of having a developing embryo or fetus in the body.
Pulmonary edema: abnormal accumulation of fluid from the blood in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs making breathing difficult.
Retinal hemorrhage: hemorrhage within the innermost membrane covering the eyeball.
Serum: the clear portion of blood.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage: bleeding in area surrounding the spinal cord.
Subdural hematoma: a massive blood clot beneath the dura mater (the outer membrane of the brain and spinal cord) causing neurologic symptoms resulting from pressure on the brain.
Synapse: a gap between two neurons in the brain across which an impulse is transmitted by diffusion from one neuron across the synapse to another neuron by means of a chemical neurotransmitter.
Systemic: affecting the entire body as a whole.
Tachycardia: abnormally rapid heart rate, 160 to 190 beats per minute.
Tentorial hemorrhage: bleeding around the brain.
Tetanic uterotonic effect: spasmodic uterine contraction where the uterus does not return to a complete resting tone between contractions, therefore interferring with the normal transfer of oxygenated blood to the fetus between contractions.
Thromboembolism: obstruction of a blood vessel caused by fragments of a blood clot carried from the site of origin to obstruct another vessel.
Thrombophlebitis: inflamation of a vein resulting from the formation of a stationary thrombis, a blood clot along the wall of a blood vessel, frequently causing vascular obstruction.
Tinnitus: Ringing or other noises in the ear.
Tocolytic: agent that causes contractions to subside; inhibits the progress of labor.
Tocophobia: irrational fear of childbirth.
Tonus: Slight continuous contraction of muscle.
Uterine atony: Loss of uterine muscle tone, allows profuse bleeding from the uterus. Hysterectomy is sometimes necessary to stop the bleeding, leaving the woman permanently infertile.
Uterotonic: increased muscular resting tone of the uterus which can interfer with the normal oxygenation of the fetus.
Vasoconstrictive action: constriction of the blood vessels, via action of a nerve.
Ventricular hemorrhage: hemorrhage in the small ventricular space in the brain or heart.
Water intoxication: fatal oxytocin-induced water intoxication resulting from an undue retention of water, marked by vomiting, depression of temperature, convulsions, and coma and may end in death.