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Here, we aim to assist you in navigating the jungle of medical terms related to pregnancy loss. We understand that during this emotional time, you need clear and comprehensible information.
Our glossary is precisely designed for that purpose: it is intended to provide you with support and help you comprehend the medical terms in your doctor's letter.

Get to the bottom of the technical jargon

Important Terms

From Amniocentesis to Yolk sac

We explain numerous medical terms that are particularly relevant in the context of pregnancy loss. They are presented in an understandable manner and sorted alphabetically, allowing you to find answers quickly.


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Abortus completus (complete pregnancy loss)

This means that all pregnancy tissue has been spontaneously expelled from the uterus following a pregnancy loss, and no further medical treatment is usually required.

Abortus imminens (impending pregnancy loss)

This term is used when there is evidence that a pregnancy loss may be imminent, such as vaginal bleeding, often accompanied by abdominal pain. Despite these symptoms, the pregnancy can still be successful.

Abortus incipiens (incipient pregnancy loss)

This is where the process of pregnancy loss begins. There is bleeding and cramping, and the cervix starts to open. This suggests that the pregnancy loss is likely to be unstoppable.

Abortus incompletus (incomplete pregnancy loss)

In this type of pregnancy loss, some of the pregnancy tissue has been expelled, but residual tissue remains in the uterus, which may require medical or surgical treatment.


Amniocentesis is a diagnostic test, often performed between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy, in which amnionic liquid is sampled trans-abdominally (through the belly) to examine genetic and chromosomal information from the fetus. This procedure can help identify certain genetic diseases or disorders.

Amniotic cavity

The space that surrounds the embryo or fetus and protects it as it develops.

Anebryonic pregnancy

A pregnancy in which the gestational sac is present but does not contain an embryo.

Asherman syndrome

Scarring and adhesions in the uterus, often as a result of infections or surgical procedures that may result in infertility or miscarriage.


The stage of embryonic development that occurs approximately 5-6 days after fertilization, before the embryo implants in the uterus.

Blighted Ovum

Another term for an anembryonic pregnancy.

CRL (crown-rump-length)

A measure to assess the size of the embryo in the first trimester. It is the length from the uppermost head end to the lowest buttock end and is measured by ultrasound.


Related to the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.

Cervical insufficiency

A weakness of the cervix that can cause it to open early during pregnancy, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

A chorionic villus biopsy is a test that can be performed at the end of the first trimester. This involves taking a sample of the placenta to test for genetic abnormalities in the fetus. This can be done earlier in pregnancy than amniocentesis and provides similar information.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

Disorders in the number or structure of chromosomes that can lead to developmental problems or miscarriages. They are a common cause of miscarriages and can be diagnosed using genetic testing.


They are tiny structures in our cells that carry our genetic information. Every person has a specific number of chromosomes (46), which determine how we look and how our bodies function. During reproduction, mother and father each pass on chromosomes to their child so that they acquire a unique combination of characteristics. Chromosomes are therefore like the blueprints that make up our bodies. The X and Y chromosomes are the chromosomes that determine our sex.

Corpus luteum

A temporary hormone-producing structure in the ovary that produces the hormone progesterone to prepare the lining of the uterus (endometrium) for a potential pregnancy and to support it in the early stages.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpes virus family and is widespread among humans. A CMV infection often has no symptoms, but can be transmitted to the unborn child in pregnant women and cause damage. The risk of transmission is particularly high if the mother is infected with CMV for the first time during pregnancy. Possible consequences of a congenital CMV infection include hearing loss, vision impairment, and developmental disorders. Preventive measures, such as thorough hygiene and avoiding body fluids from infected people, are particularly important for pregnant women, as there is currently no vaccination against CMV.

EUG (Extra Uterine gravidity)

The abbreviation for ectopic pregnancy, another name for ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy (EUG = extrauterine pregnancy, pregnancy outside the uterus)

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterine cavity, usually in a fallopian tube, which can pose a serious risk to the mother and requires immediate treatment.


The lining of the uterus, which builds up every month and is shed during menstruation, unless pregnancy occurs.

FHR (fetal heart rate)

The fetal heart rate (FHR) describes the heartbeats of an unborn child per minute. A normal FHR is between 110 and 160 beats per minute and is monitored regularly during pregnancy and childbirth to assess fetal well-being. Irregularities may indicate problems and require medical attention.


The upper part of the uterus, which can grow considerably during pregnancy and is often palpated to determine pregnancy progress.

Gestational Age

The age of pregnancy, typically calculated from the first day of the woman's last normal menstrual period. It helps to determine the calculated due date and to schedule pregnancy examinations.

Gestational Sac

The first structure that is visible in an early pregnancy ultrasound scan and shows the location of the pregnancy in the uterus.

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)

A hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy and is detected in a pregnancy test. Basically THE pregnancy hormone.

HELLP syndrome

HELLP syndrome is a rare but serious pregnancy complication characterized by hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes (a sign of liver problems), and low platelet counts.

Hyperemesis gravidarum

An extreme form of morning sickness with severe, prolonged vomiting that can cause fluid and electrolyte imbalances and sometimes requires in-patient treatment.

Implantation bleeding/nidation

A slight bleeding that occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. It can be an early sign of pregnancy and is often mistaken for the period.

Intrauterine fetal death (IUFT)

The death of the fetus in the womb after the 24th week of pregnancy. Women often experience a decrease in pregnancy symptoms and may notice declining child movements.


A complete representation of a cell's chromosome set, which helps diagnose chromosome aberrations.

LP (Last period)

The first day of a woman's last menstrual period, which is used as a starting point for determining the expected date of birth and calculating the gestational age.

Missed Abortion

Here, the fetus in the uterus has no signs of life, but the body has not begun the process of expulsion. Often, this diagnosis is made during an ultrasound, when a heartbeat can no longer be detected.

Mole Pregnancy

A rare abnormality in which placental tissue forms abnormally and a normal fetus does not develop. It can cause severe bleeding and requires medical supervision.


An early stage of development of the embryo, consisting of approximately 16 cells, that forms approximately three days after fertilization.


NIPT stands for “Non-Invasive Prenatal Test.” This is a special blood test for pregnant women, which is used to collect information about the unborn baby. The test can provide information about potential genetic problems. The special thing about it is that this test is non-invasive, which means that no needles or procedures are necessary on the womb. Instead, only a small amount of blood is taken from the pregnant woman.

Nuchal translucency measurement

This ultrasound scan measures fluid accumulation in the fetal neck area to assess the risk of certain genetic conditions, including trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).


The organ that forms in the uterus and supplies the fetus with oxygen and nutrients throughout pregnancy. It plays a crucial role in fighting off infections and producing hormones.

Placenta previa

Placenta previa is a pregnancy complication in which the placenta is so low in the uterus that it completely or partially covers the cervix. This can cause painless but often heavy bleeding, especially in the third trimester. The diagnosis is usually made through ultrasound scans, particularly if bleeding occurs after the second trimester. If placenta previa is diagnosed, vaginal births are often discouraged as this can cause severe bleeding and a caesarean section is recommended instead. Close medical monitoring is crucial to ensure the well-being of mother and child and to minimize the risk of complications.


Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and often also by the presence of protein in urine. It typically occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can be dangerous for both mother and baby if left untreated.


Ein Zustand, bei dem die Blutgruppenmerkmale der Mutter und des Fötus nicht übereinstimmen, was zu Problemen bei der Schwangerschaft oder nach der Geburt führen kann, wenn keine medizinische Maßnahme dagegen ergriffen wird.

Rhesus Prophylaxis

Rhesus prophylaxis is a protective measure for Rhesus-negative pregnant women to prevent the formation of antibodies against Rhesus-positive blood. Such a reaction could lead to complications in subsequent pregnancies. Affected women therefore receive anti-D immunoglobulin injections, which are given at 28 weeks and after the birth of a Rhesus-positive child. This protects future pregnancies from Rhesus intolerance.

Septic pregnancy loss

An infected and often painful pregnancy loss that requires immediate medical attention to avoid serious health risks for the woman.


Teratogens are substances, factors, or conditions that can cause abnormalities or developmental disorders in the unborn child during pregnancy. The best-known teratogens include certain drugs (the best known example is thalidomide (Contergan), but also antiepileptics such as valproate or phenytoin), alcohol, illegal drugs, some infections (such as rubella or syphilis) and radiation. It is therefore crucial that pregnant women avoid potential risks and seek medical advice before taking medications or dietary supplements. Preventive measures and early advice can significantly reduce the risk of teratogenic effects.


Tocolysis is a drug treatment to delay labor and is usually used to delay delivery and thus give the baby more time to develop, especially when there is an imminent risk of premature birth. Usually the treatment occurs in women who are experiencing premature contractions. The time won is used to give medication to mature the lungs of the baby.

Tube (fallopian tubes)

The fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. This is where fertilization normally takes place.

Vasa previa

Vasa previa is a rare but serious birth problem in which umbilical cord vessels run across the inner cervix and lie between the fetus and the uterine opening. These blood vessels are very vulnerable and can rupture during labor or when the bladder burst, which can lead to a dangerous situation for the child. Patients with vasa previa must therefore be monitored more closely.

Yolk sack

The yolk sac, an early embryonic appendage, plays a central role in the nutrition of the embryo and blood formation in the first weeks of pregnancy. It is one of the first visible signs of pregnancy on ultrasound and an indicator of the development of the embryo. A normal size and structure of the yolk sac can be a good sign of pregnancy progress, while abnormalities may indicate potential complications. As the placenta develops, it finally takes over the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the embryo and the yolk sac regresses. The yolk sac is therefore an important diagnostic tool in the early phase of pregnancy.