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The spontaneous or induced delivery of the fetus before the 28th week.

Part of the placenta peels away from the wall of the uterus in late pregnancy and often results in bleeding.

A protein produced by the fetus which enters the mother's bloodstream. A very high level can indicate neural tube defects of the fetus such as Down's syndrome or spina bifida, but it can also mean that the woman is carrying more than one child

A small amount of amniotic fluid is taken from the uterus through a needle inserted through the woman's abdomen and tested for chromosomal disorders such as Down's syndrome.

The fluid surrounding the fetus in the uterus.

The bag of membranes which is filled with amniotic fluid in which the fetus floats during pregnancy.

A condition where the level of red corpuscles in the blood is abnormally low, which is treated with iron supplements.

Painkilling drugs which do not cause unconsciousness. Those most commonly used during labour are Entonox (a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, known as "gas and air"), pethidine and meptid.

Before birth.

A simple test to assess the baby's condition after birth.