Here is a glossary of terms used throughout the website.

AbortionTermination of pregnancy before the fetus has become capable of sustaining an independent life outside the uterus. An abortion can occur either spontaneously, when it is called a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage, or it can be an induced abortion. The stage at which a fetus is considered viable varies according to different legislations and recommendations.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndromeThe late stage of infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Barrier methodsBarrier methods of contraception prevent pregnancy by physically or chemically blocking the entrance of sperm into the uterine cavity. Condoms help to protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection. Barrier methods include cervical caps, condoms, diaphragms, female condoms, spermicides and sponges.
Birth controlBirth control is the use of any practices, methods, or devices to prevent pregnancy from occurring in a sexually active woman. Also referred to as family planning, pregnancy prevention, fertility control, or contraception. Birth control methods are designed either to prevent fertilization of an egg or implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
CervixThe cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.
Ectopic pregnancyA pregnancy that is not in the uterus. The fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus. 95% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube. However, they can occur in other locations, such as the ovary, cervix, and abdominal cavity.
EmbryoThe fertilized egg up to eight weeks old.
Emergency contraceptionA method of contraception used to avoid pregnancy after a single act of unprotected sexual intercourse due to lack of use or failure of a contraceptive. Emergency Contraception (EC) should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. These “morning-after pill” are similar to birth control pills but generally contain higher hormone doses. EC are thought to prevent ovulation, fertilization, and/or implantation. They are not effective once the process of implantation has begun and will not cause abortion. Research indicates that ECPs can prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected intercourse.
Family planningThe conscious effort of couples or individuals to plan for and attain a desired number of children and to regulate the spacing and timing of their births.
FertilizationFertilization is the process of combining the male gamete, or “sperm,” with the female gamete, or “ovum.” The product of this combination is a cell called a zygote.
FetusThe unborn offspring from the end of the 8th week after conception until birth. Up until the 8th week, the developing offspring is called an embryo.
FeverAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degrees F. (37 degrees C.), in practice a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C.).
GynecologyThe branch of medicine particularly concerned with the health of the female organs of reproduction and its diseases.
Hormonal contraceptionSystemic methods of contraception based on either a progestagen combined with an oestrogen or a progestagen alone. The methods of delivery include pills (oral contraceptives), injectables and implants. All are reversible.
Human immunodeficiency virusThe virus that causes AIDS. Two types of HIV are currently known: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Worldwide, the predominant virus is HIV-1. Both types of the virus may be transmitted by sexual contact, through blood, and from mother to child (either before or during birth, or through breast feeding). While some individuals experience mild HIV-related disease soon after initial infection, nearly all then remain well for years. As the virus gradually damages their immune system, they begin to develop opportunistic infections of increasing severity, including diarrhea, fever, tuberculosis, pneumonia, lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Immune systemThe body’s complicated natural defense against disruption caused by invading foreign agents (e.g. microbes, viruses).
Induced abortionAn abortion that is brought about intentionally. Also called an artificial or therapeutic abortion.
InfectionThe growth of a parasitic organism within the body. A parasitic organism is one that lives on or in another organism and draws its nourishment from.
Intrauterine (contraceptive) deviceA long-term, reversible method of contraception, involving the insertion into the uterus of a small flexible device of metal/plastic/hormonal materials. IUDs are effective and safe.
Lactational amenorrhoea method (LAM)A post-partum method of preventing pregnancy in the short term. It is based on evidence that for 6 months after birth a high degree of protection naturally occurs against pregnancy, if the mother is fully breast-feeding on demand and has not had her period.
Last menstrual periodBy convention, pregnancies are dated in weeks starting from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). If menstrual periods are regular and ovulation occurs on day 14 of her cycle, conception takes place about 2 weeks after her LMP. A woman is therefore considered to be 6 weeks pregnant 2 weeks after her first missed period.
Low dose pillA combined contraceptive pill that contains 35 micrograms of oestrogen or less.
MenstrualPertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrual cramps, menstrual cycle, and premenstrual syndrome.
PregnancyThe state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body.
Sexually transmitted infectionAny infection transmitted by sexual contact. It is caused by microorganisms that survive on the skin or mucus membranes of the genital area, or transmitted via semen, vaginal secretions, or blood during intercourse. Because the genital areas provide a moist, warm environment it is especially conducive to the proliferation of bacteria, viruses, and yeasts. Infections include AIDS, Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, syphilis, yeast infections, and some forms of hepatitis.
UltrasoundHigh-frequency sound waves. Ultrasound waves can be bounced off of tissues using special devices. The echoes are then converted into a picture called a sonogram. Ultrasound imaging allows physicians and patients to get an inside view of soft tissues and body cavities without using invasive techniques. Ultrasound is often used to examine a fetus during pregnancy.
Urinary tractThe organs of the body that produce and discharge urine. These include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Urinary tract infectionInfection of the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra. Not everyone with a UTI has symptoms. Common symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning when urinating. More females than males have UTIs. Underlying conditions that impair the normal urinary flow can lead to complicated UTIs.
UterusThe uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman’s lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum. The narrow, lower portion of the uterus is the cervix; the broader, upper part is the corpus. The corpus is made up of two layers of tissue.