Birth Definitions

Antepartum Definition


In the birthing world, antepartum refers to the period between a woman’s last menstrual period and the birth of her baby. This term is generally used to refer to the latter portion of pregnancy, from around 20 weeks gestation until birth.

It is during this period that the pregnant woman and her care providers will monitor for signs of labor, and take steps to prevent preterm birth, any birth that occurs before 37 weeks gestation. Routine prenatal care appointments become more frequent, as doctors and midwives work to monitor the health of both the mother and the developing baby.


Common Antepartum Tests

Common antepartum tests include :

  • Biophysical Profile
  • Non-stress Test
  • Fetal Monitoring
  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling
  • Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling
  • Ultrasound Scan

These tests help assess the health of the baby and the progress of the pregnancy and can give clues as to whether or not labor is imminent. These tests are important, as they can help to prevent complications such as preterm birth preterm labor, and birth.

Related Meaning and Terms

The term antepartum can also refer to the period between the onset of a disease and its manifestation. This is most commonly seen in reference to mental health, where someone may say that they are experiencing antepartum depression or anxiety. This is different from postpartum depression, which occurs after the baby is born. Another use is in relation to hemorrhage which is bleeding during pregnancy or before the baby is born.

Other similar terms include intrapartum, which refers to the period from the onset of labor until the birth of the baby, and postpartum, which refers to the period after the birth of the baby. Both of these terms are used more frequently in the birthing world than antepartum.

This image shows how often the term ‘Antepartum’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:


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