After your first couple of meetings with your midwife you could feel like a cross between a gangster, a monkey and a petrol station. Here’s what it all really means…



To be fair, this is another language – Latin. Primip comes from primipara, and means a woman who’s pregnant for the first time. Nothing to do with primates! We midwives shorten it to primip. A woman with more than one baby is a multip.

Height of the fundus

“I just need to measure the height of the fundus,” smiles your midwife, whipping out the tape measure. “Fundus,” you wonder, as you lay back and prepare to open your legs. “But nothing feels itchy…” Don’t worry, however, as this has nothing to do with a yeast infection. The fundus is the top of your bump, and midwives measure from there to the pubic bone to get a good idea of how well your baby is growing.

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When you’re told by your midwife that she needs to “do your bloods”, you might think you’ve stepped into a gangster film. What she means is blood tests. She’ll explain what she’s testing for, and it’s like a regular blood test, taking blood from a vein in your arm.


Nothing to do with where you buy your petrol, this is blood pressure. Your midwife should take your BP at every appointment. Some women find that they experience a rise in blood pressure during pregnancy, which can also be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a serious condition, so it’s important to be checked regularly.

Birth plan – the other ‘BP’

As far as you knew, you can’t plan the birth, right? Of course not. But you can write your ‘best case scenario’, so the doctors know what you’d prefer. It’s not an official form, just your own notes on everything, from where you’d like to give birth to pain relief. It’s not a legal contract either, so nobody can wave it in your face when you change your mind!

If you’re baffled by medical jargon, don’t worry, as you’re not the only one…

  • “I kept putting off writing a birth plan because I thought that my wishes were then set in stone. It wasn’t until my antenatal class that the midwife explained it was just a guide.”

Megan Williams, 26, from Almouth, mum to Sam, 12 weeks

  • “I felt stupid when I asked my midwife what a ‘stretch and weep’ was. She made me feel better when she said someone else had called it a ‘scratch and sniff’!”

Sian Amer, 23, from Gillingham, mum to Poppy, 8 weeks

  • “My husband looked horrified when the midwife said I’d have to be ‘sectioned’ if I didn’t make more progress in labour. He didn’t realise she was talking about a c-section!”

Kate Thompson, 33, from Northampton, mum to James, 7, and Milly, 4