scans-tests-and-screening

Maternity notes abbreviations

What does everything mean?

What do all the abbreviations mean on my maternity notes?

Your maternity notes make for interesting reading (although once you've carried them around for almost nine months you might tire of them a little!), and although most of them should be a pretty straightforward record of your appointments and the pregnancy screening tests you have had, you might find some entries hard to decipher – particularly when your midwife or doctor uses medical shorthand!

At a glance

  • Most maternity notes are a record of your appointments
  • There are lots of common abbreviations which will be used throughout your pregnancy
  • By the end of your pregnancy you will probably be a pro at deciphering them all

You may find your maternity notes are digital now, electronic patient records (EPRs) or digital maternity notes. Whether you are offered digital maternity notes may depend on which NHS trust your hospital is in. There is ongoing work nationally on The Womens Digital Care Records Project which supports women with the opportunity to contribute towards their own record. However many women will still have handheld maternity notes or a combination of handheld notes and digital records and will still be exposed to the common abbreviations used.

Although you should always clarify anything you don't understand in your notes with your midwife, here are the most common abbreviations you are likely to come across while you are pregnant – and most importantly, what they actually mean!

Alb: Albumin. A protein in your wee that could be a marker of a potential problem

BP: Blood pressure

Breech: Bottom down

Cephalic or ceph: head down (nearest to the symphysis pubis)

CGC: Customised growth chart – the chart used to plot the growth of your baby based on ultrasound scans and/or SFH measurements

EDD: Expected date of delivery

Eng: Engagement – when your baby's head has moved down in to your pelvis

FH: Foetal heart (your baby's heart)

FHH: Foetal heart heard

FHHR: Foetal heart heard and regular

FMF: Foetal movement felt  

Fundus: The top of your womb

Glucose: Used rather than sugar

GTT: Glucose Tolerance Test – a test used to check for gestational diabetes

Hb: Haemoglobin – the oxygen carrying part of your red blood cells 

Lie: Which way the baby is lying (either longitundinal;lengthwise, oblique (on an angle) or transverse (sideways)

LMP: Last menstrual period

MSU: Midstream urine

NAD: No abnormality detected (meaning there is nothing wrong)

NE: Not engaged (meaning your baby's head is not yet down in the pelvis)

NIPT: Non Invasive Prenatal testing

SFH: Symphysis fundal Height or standardised fundal height measurement, the measuring of your bump from the top of your uterus (fundus) to the top of your symphysis pubis which starts from 26 -28 weeks

Oedema: Swelling, usually of the hands of feet, and caused by fluid retention 

Presentation: Which part of the baby presents towards the birth canal

Sugar: The levels of sugar in your blood or urine 

Tr: Trace, so 'Tr blood' would mean a trace of blood was found in your urine, for instance

TCA: To come again (as in, you need another appointment)

USS: Ultrasound Scan

VE: Vaginal examination 

You might come across other abbreviations in your maternity notes, depending on any individual tests or screenings that you have – remember though, always ask for an explanation of any terminology you are not familiar with or do not understand.

At a glance

  • Most maternity notes are a record of your appointments
  • There are lots of common abbreviations which will be used throughout your pregnancy
  • By the end of your pregnancy you will probably be a pro at deciphering them all
Check with your midwife if there is anything on your notes that you don't understand

Maternity notes abbreviations