Feeling a little lost?  What do all those acronyms stand for?


A decrease in the baby's red blood cell count; red blood cells carry oxygen.

Apgar Score
A numerical scoring system, usually applied at one and five minutes after the birth of all newborn babies. This is to evaluate the condition of the baby based on heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, and color. The score is used by the doctor and nurse to determine if the baby needs assistance.

A pause in breathing. The temporary stopping of breathing by the baby, for 20 seconds or more.

Apnea Monitor
Monitor that is connected to the baby with a sensor to specifically detect apnea.

A condition in which food, liquids, saliva, or vomit is breathed into the airways.

Yellow pigmented waste product from old red blood cells that is excreted by the liver into the stool.

Blood Gas
a test to measure the amount of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and acid in the baby's blood. The blood sample may be from an artery (ABG), vein (VBG), or capillary (CBG). Changes in the baby's respiratory care can occur as a result of this test.


Blood Pressure
A type of measurement. BP is the force of the blood on blood vessel walls. This is caused by the heart beating and by the muscles inside the blood vessel walls.

Slower than normal heart rate


Cardiopulminary Resusitation
A way to get the heart and lungs working again if they have stopped

Tube that either drains fluid from the body or puts fluid into the body.

Central Line Catheter
Tube that goes into a large or central vein. It is usually placed for long-term nutrition from IV fluids that will provide protein and calories. Two types you might hear about are Broviac or percutaneous ("PICC").


Central Nervous System
The brain and spinal cord


Cerebral Palsy
The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance.CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.  The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age. The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy. Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain and abnormal sensations. A small number of children have CP as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse. The disorder isn't progressive, meaning that the brain damage typically doesn't get worse over time. Risk factors associated with CP do not cause the disorder but can increase a child's chance of being born with the disorder.CP is not hereditary.


Complete Blood Count
A measure of the type and number of cells in the blood. This is often part of an evaluation to check for infection or a way to determine the number of red blood cells.

CAT Scan

Computerized Axial Tomography
Test also known as a "scan" that gives a 3-D view of the body's internal organs and structures. Medication may be given to your baby to help him or her to remain completely still during the scan procedure.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
A way to give a steady, gentle supply of air into the airway while a baby is breathing on his or her own. This can be done with a ventilator (breathing machine).


Early Intervention
(aka Birth-to-3 clinic)
System of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.  Many of these services help prevent complications later in life.

An ultrasound of the heart


The study of the electrical activity of the heart


Recordings of the electrical activity of the brain. The EEG may be useful in recording seizures

ET tube

Endotracheal tube
A flexible tube inserted through the baby's mouth or nose into the trachea ( the large airway from the mouth to the lungs

Removal of the endotracheal tube (ET Tube)

Pertaining to fever

The large soft spot on the top, and the smaller one on the back of the baby's head. They will close within 12 and 18 months.


Gastrostomy Tube
A tube inserted through the abdomen that delivers nutrition directly to the stomach.

Gavage Feeding
If a baby cannot breastfeed or bottlefeed by sucking; a small tube is placed into the mouth or nose; the end of the tube is in the stomach. The feeding is given by gravity flow through the tube. This is also called tube feeding.

Percent of red blood cells in the blood, part of the CBC. This is often used to determine if a blood transfusion is necessary due to anemia or low blood volume.


High-Frequency Ventilator
A machine that gives hundreds of tiny breaths per minute.

A hydrocele can develop before birth. Normally, the testicles descend from the developing baby's abdominal cavity into the scrotum. A sac accompanies each testicle, allowing fluid to surround the testicles. [...] Most hydroceles are present at birth. Between 1 and 2 percent of newborns have a hydrocele. Babies who are born prematurely have a higher risk of having a hydrocele.Usually, each sac closes and the fluid is absorbed. However, fluid can remain after the sac closes (noncommunicating hydrocele). The fluid is usually absorbed gradually within the first year of life.Sometimes, however, the sac remains open (communicating hydrocele). The sac can change size or, if the scrotal sac is compressed, fluid can flow back into the abdomen. Communicating hydroceles are often associated with inguinal hernia. [...]


Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
A type of brain damage that occurs when an infant's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen and blood


Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation
A way to help babies breathe using a ventilator to give a set number of breaths per minute.


Method of delivering medicine, fluids or nourishment (liquid food) directly into the body through a vein.


Intraventricular Hemorrhage
Bleeding in or around the brain.


Intruterine Growth Restriction
A condition in which a baby doesn't grow to normal weight during pregnancy.

Insertion of the endotracheal tube (ET tube).

IV Catheter
A tiny flexible, hollow plastic tube inserted into a vein over a needle. The needle comes out and the catheter stays in the vein.

IV Pump
A machine used to give IV fluids.

Yellow coloring of the skin or the whites of the eyes due to an increase in bilirubin; a normal by-product of the breakdown of red blood cells.


Lumbar Puncture
A small sample of fluid is taken from the space around the nerve endings in the lower back to check for infection. The procedure is also known as spinal tap. It is often part of a sepsis work-up to check for infection.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging
A test also called a "scan" that gives a horizontal or cross-sectional picture of internal organs and structures. Medication may be given to your baby to help him or her to remain completely still during this procedure. This is a painless procedure for your baby. It uses magnetic energy.


Maternal Fetal Medicine
(aka Perinatology)
Specialists within the field of obstetrics who focus on high-risk, un-routine pregnancies 

Dark greenish waste products that accumulate in the bowel during fetal life and are eliminated shortly after birth.

Meconium Aspiration
The condition in which the baby breathes in meconium that is in the amniotic fluid.

NEC (Medical)

Medical Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Serious diseas of the intestinal tract that is treated with antibiotics and not surgery.

Nasal Cannula
Small plastic tube placed under the nose to provide oxygen.


Nasogastric Tube
Feeding tube that goes through the nose and into the stomach.


Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Serious disease of the intestinal tract sometimes requiring antibiotics and/or surgery.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
An intensive care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants.

Newborn baby 1 month old or younger


Occupational Therapy
The use of assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental, or cognitive disorder.

OG Tube

Orogastric Tube
A tube that goes through the mouth and into the stomach

Plastic hood used to deliver humidified oxygen to the baby.


Patent Ductus Arteriosus
The Ductus Arteriosus is a normal blood vessel between the major arteries of the heart that usually closes after birth. If it does not close, it is called a Patent (Open) Ductus Arteriosus and may require medication and/or surgery, called PDA ligation.


Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
A multidisciplinary unit that provides care for infants, children and adolescents who become critically ill or injured.The many physicians, nurses and allied medical care professionals who work in the PICU have the knowledge, skill and judgment to quickly assess and treat [a] child so he can achieve the best outcomes possible from critical illness or injury. Equipped with advanced technology, [a] multidisciplinary team improves survival, speeds recovery, minimizes disability and relieves pain and suffering in a caring and respectful manner.


Peripherally Inserted Central Cathether
A type of tube that is put into a central (large) vein.


Phenylketonuria Test
(aka Newborn Screening)
Test that checks a baby for certain serious medical conditions that may go undetected without such testing. All states require newborn screening to be performed on babies who are born in that state. The conditions that are screened for will vary by state; however, phenylketonuria (PKU), sickle cell disease, and HIV are examples of conditions for which tests are typically performed.


Physical Therapy
Physical Therapists work to improve children's motor development, strength, range of motion, endurance, balance, coordination, gait difficulties, heart and lung endurance, and delayed motor development. […]Pediatric PTs also teach children and their families about safety and home exercises, since improving physical function often requires daily practice. Providing expert consultation to school and daycare is often the therapist's responsibility as well. These professionals support the family and child by coordinating care with other health care professionals and providing advocacy and social assistance when necessary.


Pregnancy Induced Hypertension
A form of high blood pressure in pregnancy.


Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Child Birth
A collective of birth and mental health experts dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth.

Radiant warmer bed
An open bed with a heating device.


Respiratory  Syncytial Virus
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially those in certain high-risk groups […] More severe RSV disease may occur in the following infants:Premature infants; Infants with chronic lung disease; Infants whose immune system does not work well; Infants with certain forms of heart disease


Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Breathing problem common to premature babies where the tiny air sacs of the lungs tend to collapse at the end of each breath, due to a lack of surfactant.

When the healthcare team meets to discuss patient care.

A device that is inserted into the body to redirect the flow of blood or other fluid from one area to another


Speech Language Pathology (aka Speech Therapy)
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Abnormal narrowing of a passageway, such as a blood vessel or other type of opening in the body.

Removal of secretions from the baby's nose, mouth, throat and/or endotracheal tube with a small plastic tube connected to suction.


Synchronized Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation
IMV timed with the baby's breaths.

Abnormal rapid heartbeat.

Traumatic Childbirth
If a woman experiences or perceives that she and/or her baby were in danger of injury or death to during childbirth, her birth is defined as traumatic  –psychologically, physically, or both. Usually, she experiences extreme sense of helplessness, isolation, lack of care, fear, and anxiety (Beck, 2004a). Traumatic childbirth occurs in as many as 25 – 34 per cent of all births. Approximately one-third of those women may develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Ultrasound (sonogram)
Type of radiologic test in which echoes of high frequency sound waves provide a picture of the body tissues.

Umbilical Catheter
Tube that goes into either the artery or vein in the "belly button" (umbilical cord stump).

Urinary Catheter
Tube that goes into the bladder to drain urine.


Vital Signs
The baby's temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory (breathing) rate.