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Nabothian cyst

A mucus-filled cyst of the cervix.

Natural childbirth

Labor and childbirth with minimal or no medical intervention including drugs to relieve pain.

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU, newborn intensive care unit)

An intensive care unit that cares for high risk newborn babies


A newborn infant until 28 days of age.


A physician who has completed specialty training in pediatrics and  additional subspecialty training in the care of newborns that are ill or require special medical care

Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

An inflammatory disease of the bowel (enterocolitis) usually seen in premature infants.  Injured bowel may die (necrosis) and allow the intestinal contents to leak into the abdominal cavity causing severe infection which can be fatal.

Symptoms include lethargy (sluggishness) and  feeding intolerance. The abdomen may appear swollen, and the infant will often pass bloody stools. Although the cause of NEC is unclear an infectious agent is suspected.

Neural-tube defect (NTD)

A general term for birth defects caused by incomplete closure of the cylinder shaped structure, the neural tube, which gives rise to both the brain and spinal cord.

Closure of the neural tube occurs from the middle of the neural groove and progresses toward the ends of the tube. Closure of the end towards the head (cranial) occurs around day 24 and closure of end towards the lower end of the body (caudal) occurs about day 26.

Failure of the cranial end to close results in lack of a complete brain (anencephaly) . Failure of the caudal end to close results in an open spinal cord (spina bifida).

Neural tube defects usually cause elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein levels detectable in the mother's blood and may be seen using sonogram.


A general term that refers to a pigmented lesion of the skin for example a mole or birthmark.


Nonstress Test (NST)

A method of testing fetal well-being. The study is performed by making a graphical recording of the fetal heart rate using an electronic monitor. The test is considered normal (reactive) if  there are two or more fetal
heart rate accelerations that peak (but do not necessarily remain) at least 15 beats per minute above the baseline and last 15 seconds from baseline to baseline within a 20-minute period with or without fetal movement discernible by the woman.

The nonstress test applies no stress to the mother or fetus. In contrast, the contraction stress test (CST) records the fetal heart rate in response to induced mild contractions of the uterus. The CST tests uteroplacental function whereas the NST tests the fetal condition.


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