French vocabulary related to pregnancy and birth

  • antenatal (adj.) - prénatal (a term that means "before birth") 

  • antenatal classes - les cours prénataux 

  • antenatal classes - les classes prénatales

  • pregnancy - la grossesse

  • I am pregnant. - Je suis enceinte.

  • pain - la douleur

  • pain - le mal

  • I have pain. - J'ai des douleurs.

  • It hurts. - ça fait mal. 

  • I have pain. - J'ai mal. 

  • hospital - un hôpital

  • home birth - naissance à la maison (labour and delivery that takes place at home, under the supervision of a midwife

  • birthing centre - maison de naissance  (birth center is a small health care facility for childbirth where care is provided by midwives)

  • emergency - une urgence 

  • doctor - un/une medicin 

  • dorctor- un/une docteur(esse) 

  • midwife - une sage-femme

  • ultrasond, scan -une sonographie 

  • appointment - un rendez-vous 

  • morning sickness - des nausées de grossesse

  • foetus - un foetus (baby inside uterus)

  •  gestational diabetes – un diabète gestationnel (a condition that develops during pregnancy when the woman’s blood sugar levels become too high because inadequate levels of insulin. The condition is treatable and usually disappears after pregnancy)

  • preeclampsia - une prééclampsie (a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure)

  • blood pressure - la pression artérielle

  • to take blood - prise de sang

  • blood sample - un échantillon de sang 

  • birth plan - un plan de naissance (a written document describing a woman’s preferences for her care during labour and birth

  • stretch marks - les vergetures

  • breech baby - le bébé se présente par le siège / par les pieds - (when the baby is positioned inside the uterus with its bottom or feet down, instead of its head)

  • cephalic/head down position - en présentation céphalique

  • induced labour -le déclenchement du travail (when a healthcare professional tries to artificially ‘start’ a woman’s labour)

  • spontaneous labour –​travail spontané (when labour starts by itself without medical help)

  • amniotic fluid - un liquide amniotique (the liquid that surrounds a baby in the uterus, also called ‘waters’)

  • amniotic sac - un sac amniotique (the sac around the baby inside the uterus) 

  • meconium stained amniotic fluid - liquid amniotic meconial (baby made a poo inside the uterus, the amniotic fluid is green)

  • analgesia/pain relief - une analgésie 

  • analgesic, pain relief - analgésique

  • pain relief - anti-douleur 

  • pain relief - antalgique

  • anaesthetist - un/une anesthésiste (a doctor who specialises in giving anaesthetic) 

  • labour - le travail 

  • birth -  l'accouchement

  • dilatation - la dilatation (the opening of the cervix, measured as the diameter of the cervix in centimeters) 

  • cervix - le col de l'utérus

  • episiotomy - une épisiotomie (cut performed at the perineum as baby's head is crowning)

  • vacuum delivery/suction cup - ventouse (vacuum cup is attached to the baby's head by suction to assist delivery of the head)

  • instrumental delivery - accouchement instrumenté

  • with forceps - par forceps

  • spontaneous vaginal delivery - accouchement par voie basse 

  • Caesarean section - Césarienne (a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through a cut in the abdomen and uterus, also called a ‘C- section’)

  • theatre - salle operatoire (where Caesarean section is performed)

  • epidural - péridural

  • spinal block or epidural - l'anesthésie rachidienne ou péridurale

  • gas and air/entonox - protoxyde d'azote (This is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. Gas and air will not remove all the pain, but it can help reduce it and make it more bearable. It's easy to use and you control it yourself. You breathe in the gas and air through a mask or mouthpiece, which you hold yourself).

  • birth canal, the passageway - canal de naissance  (made up of the cervix and vagina that the baby travels through during birth)

  • cervix/ the neck of the uterus -  col de l'utérus  (the narrow, lower end of the uterus that softens and opens during labour to allow the baby to come out)

  • Braxton Hicks contractions - contractions de Braxton Hicks (a tightening of the uterus  that may feel like a labour contraction. Braxton Hicks contractions are not painful and do not get stronger and closer together like true contractions (also called ‘false labour’)

  • full term - le terme complet (when a pregnancy is a normal duration (37–42 weeks gestation)

  • gestation - la gestation (the length of time that a baby is in the uterus).

  • breaking of waters, breaking of the amniotic sac - rupture de la poche des eaux 

  • breaking of waters - rupture des membranes

  • My waters have broken (literary I have lost my waters) - J'ai perdu mes eaux. 

  • contraction - une contraction (the often strong and painful tightening of the uterus during labour that causes the woman’s cervix to dilate and that helps push the baby through the birth canal)

  • 2nd stage of labour - deuxième étape du travail (the time from the complete dilation of the cervix (10 cm) to the birth)

  • crowning -le couronnement (time during labour when the baby’s head has reached the external vaginal opening and can be seen from the outside)

  • The baby's head is crowning - La tête du bébé se couronne.

  • I can see his hair.- Je vois ses cheveux ! 

  • I can see his head/skull - Je peux vois sa tête/son crâne.

  • 3rd stage of labour - troisième étape du travail (the time from the birth of the baby to the birth of the placenta)

  • bleeding after birth/lochia - les pertes vaginaux (bleeding after having a baby)/lochie

  • haemorrhage - une hémorragie

  • bleeding -un saignement 

  • to bleed - saigner (verb) 

  • I am bleeding - Je saigne 

  • blood - un sang 

  • vaginal bleeding - saignement vaginal 

  • blood transfusion - une transfusion sanguine 

  • after pains - les tranchées  (after-pains are contractions that occur after labor and delivery. These contractions signal the process of involution, the process of your uterus shrinking back down to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.

  • frist degree tear - déchirure au premier degré (a tear involving only the perineal skin  that occurs at the time of delivery that doesn’t always require stitches

  • 2nd degree tear - dechirure du deuxième degré (a tear of the perineum involving both skin and muscles, but not the anus. Second- degree tears often require stitches)

  • fontanelles - fontanelles (soft spots on a baby’s head that allow its skull to compress during birth so it can pass through the birth canal. The fontanels completely fuse by the time the child is two years old).

  • incontinence - l' incontinence (an inability to control your bladder or bowel movements

  • jaundice - ictère/jaunisse (a condition where a person’s skin and the whites of their eyes take on a yellowish tinge. It is caused by an excess of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood and in newborns often resolves itself)

  • lactation consultant - consultante en lactation (a healthcare professional who is trained to provide information and support about breastfeeding

  • meconium - méconium (a tar-like substance passed by a baby as their first poo. Passing meconium before birth may be a sign of foetal distress)

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) - Unité de soins intensifs néonatals (UNSI) - – a unit in the hospital for babies who need a high level of special medical care

  • newborn - nouveau-né 

  • baby - le bébé

  • paediatrician - pédiatre (a doctor who has undertaken specialist training in treating children)

  • pelvic floor exercises - exercices du plancher pelvien (exercises a woman can do to strengthen the muscles in and around her vagina).

  • perineum - un périnée  (the area between the vagina and anus)

  • placenta - un placenta (the organ that connects to the wall of the uterus, that nourishes the baby through the umbilical cord)

  • postnatal (adj.) - postnatal (a term meaning ‘after birth’ )

  • postnatal depression - dépression postnatale (a condition that affects some mothers in the days, weeks or months after giving birth)

  • premature (adj.) - prématuré (when a baby is born before 37 weeks gestation)

  • stillbirth - mortinaissance (the death of a baby after 20 weeks’ gestation but before birth)

  • TENS machine - machine TENS (a ‘trans-electrical nerve stimulation’ machine used for pain management during labour).