• Chloe Bernard

Finnish Words of Pregnancy and Birth

Last year, I made this little lexicon to help my clients navigate through their journey in a smoother way. When you are pregnant in Finland, you meet nurses, doctors and midwives who speak Finnish or Swedish. Most of them speak English but you might be confronted to some "lost in translation" moments. I've got your back!





Abortti / raskaudenkeskeytys

Abortion

Termination of the pregnancy. It can be medical (induced with drugs) or surgical.


Akupainanta

Acupressure

Alternative Chinese medicine similar to acupuncture but without needles.


Akupunktio

Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine using the meridians of the body to balance and heal. Very thin needles are screwed in the skin at strategic points. It can be used during pregnancy to alleviate discomfort, pain or to facilitate labour.


Aquarakkulat

Sterile water injection (aqua blisters)

A non-medical pain tricker. Hot feeling that makes diversion. The sterile water is injected just under your skin, in your back or lower belly. You can ask for refills.


B-ryhmän streptokokki

GBS

Group B Streptococcus also known as Group B Strep Infection (GBS) is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman's vagina or rectum. This bacteria is normally found in the vagina and/or rectum of about 25% of all healthy, adult women. Women who test positive for GBS are said to be colonised.


Ballonki

Foley balloon catheter

This is a tool used as a mechanical induction method. The balloon is inserted in the cervix, then it is inflated with a saline solution and left in place while being taped to the thigh to provide gentle traction. When the balloon falls down, that means the cervix has opened. During this process, contractions usually start and labour follows.


Doula

Doula

A professional who offers you information and unconditional (emotional and physical) support through pregnancy, birth and beyond. There are different types of doulas: birth doulas, yoga doulas, water doulas, bereavement doulas, death doulas, postpartum doulas. Some doulas are even specialised in adoption or surrogacy. Doulas are there to facilitate all types of transitions.


Emätin

Vagina

Magical organ with superpowers that some men fear. It is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft lining which connects the uterus to the outside world.


Epiduraali

Epidural

Injection of anaesthetic and/or analgesic in the epidural space.


Episiotomia / välilihan leikkaus

Episiotomy

A surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery or to enlarge the vaginal opening during a vacuum-assisted delivery. Traditionally, it used to be practised systematically to avoid tears. Since then, evidence based medicine has refuted the theory and tears, healing faster and better, are preferred to a surgical cut that can lead to further damages and challenge the mother’s quality of life.


Gua sha kampa

Gua sha comb

A traditional Chinese medicine massage tool that looks like a comb, a fish, an heart, made of jade, quartz, bone or wood. It is use to scrap or spoon the skin. A way to relax, release tensions, during pregnancy, birth and after.


Hieronta

Massage

One of the tools we have to relieve pain, relax, and stimulate oxytocin production.


Hypnoosi

Hypnosis

Self induced state of relaxation. Technique to enter and stay in a safe bubble. The mind-body fantastic relationship.


Häpyhuulet

Labia

Lips of the vulva.


Häpykieli / Klitoris

Clitoris

The female organ that focuses on pleasure only. Its full shape has recently been discovered.


Ilokaasu

Laughing gas

Nitrous oxide (nitrox) is used as a pain relief during labour. The birthing person inhales the gas through a mask. The gas formula is N2O.


Imetys

Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding

Gastronomic exchange of oxytocin. Soothes and reassures baby. Helps mummy/parent to get a restorative sleep, bond with their baby and so much more.


Imukuppi

Vacuum extractor

The vacuum device uses a soft cup that attaches to the baby’s head with suction and guides the baby’s expulsion through the birth canal.


Istukka

Placenta

The placenta (a type of cake, in Latin) is a temporary organ that connects the developing fetus via the umbilical cord to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, thermo-regulation, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother's blood supply; to fight against internal infection; and to produce hormones which support pregnancy.


Joogamatto

Yoga mat

Thick mat with a grip which doesn’t damage the knee caps.


Jumppapallo

Birthing ball (gym ball)

It helps you dance your baby down, sitting. You can also hug it while your doula gently sifts your belly or shakes your apples with her rebozo.


Kaksoset

Twins

Two for the price of one birth. Twice more love and twice more everything.


Kalvojen pyörittely

Membranes sweeping (stripping)

Mechanical labour induction technique. A doctor or midwife will use a gloved hand to sweep the inside of the cervix in a circular motion.


Keisarinleikkaus / sektio

C-section / Belly birth

This is one of the possible entrances for babies into our world. This is a surgery which can be elective (elektiivinen keisarileikkaus), urgent (kiireellinen keisarileikkaus) or emergent (hätäkeisarileikkaus).


Keskenmeno

Miscarriage

When the pregnancy involuntarily stops.


Kivunlievitys

Pain relief

Tools, medical or non-medical, to alleviate the pain.


Kohdunkaula

Cervix

The womb’s turtle neck.


Kotisynnytys

Homebirth

Birth in your own very familiar nest. Your bed, your fridge, your shower, your smell and friendly bacteria.


Kyykky

Squatting

An art and a strategic position for pregnancy and birth. Relaxes the pelvic floor and strengthens the legs. And it doesn’t press your tail bone, making more room for baby’s exit.


Kätilö

Midwife

Midwives are medically trained to assist families during pregnancy and birth. They also deal with female reproductive health and menopause.


Lantionpohja

Pelvic floor

The layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder and bowels). It is often referred as a hammock.


Lapsivesi

Amniotic fluid

Protective water contained in the amniotic sac. Not pee. Not discharge. It is slightly shiny and smells sweet like an areola. Coincidence? I don’t think so.


Lääkäri

Doctor

You might meet one if you encounter challenges before or during the birth. If not, you’ll meet one at your post partum check up, about 6 weeks after birth.


Mikrobiomi

Microbiome

The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes (bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses) that live on the skin and inside the human body.


Nänni

Nipple

The female part of the breast that is too often censured on social media.


Nännien stimulointi

Nipple stimulation

When nipples are stimulated (with the person’s consent) the body might secrete oxytocin, which relaxes or excites the person and can help induce the start of labour if the conditions are present.


Napanuoran myöhäinen katkaisu

Delayed cord clamping

It’s when you wait for your baby’s umbilical cord to be empty of blood (and nutrients, ferritin, oxygen etc.) and stop pulsate, so your baby gets the maximum amount of goodness to thrive. (3-10mn).


Napanuora

Umbilical cord

The conduit connecting the placenta to the navel of the fetus or baby. Contains two arteries and one vein buried in Wharton’s jelly. The average length is 55cm but it can rarely be longer than 1m and in this case the midwife must bake a cake for her colleagues. That’s the tradition.


Närästys

Heartburn

Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in the chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus. During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax, which can increase the frequency of heartburns.


Oksitosiini

Oxytocin

The love hormone involved in love making but also labour progress, breastfeeding and bonding.


Pähkinäpallo

Peanut ball

This is peanut shaped ball created for pilates but used more and more during labour to mobilise the pelvis while lying down. Placed between the legs of the birthing person, the peanut ball can significantly shorten the length of the second phase of labour.


Peräaukko

Anus

The beginning of the end.


Peräpukama

Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels inside or around the rectum and anus. During pregnancy, piles (just like varicose veins) can occur because hormones make the veins relax. Fortunately, they retract once the baby is born.


Perätila

Breech

When your baby is ready to enter the world bum/feet/foot first.


Pre-eklampsia

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition. Symptoms might be: high blood pressure, blurred vision, headaches, swelling.


Prostaglandiini

Prostaglandins

They are synthesised within the human foetal membranes (amnion and chorion) and decidua and act to ripen the cervix, change membrane structure and contract the myometrium (middle layer of the uterine wall).


Raskaus

Pregnancy

A pregnant woman's placenta produces hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), also called the pregnancy hormone. If you're pregnant, an urine pregnancy test can detect this hormone in your urine from about 1 day after your first missed period.


Raskausdiabetes

Gestational diabetes

Too much sugar in the blood during pregnancy. The condition disappears after childbirth.


Rebozo

Rebozo

A beautiful shawl traditionally made in Mexico or Guatemala to carry merchandise and children. It is also a piece of fashion. Traditional midwives use the shawl to massage pregnant women and new mothers. They also use this tool to help the baby rotate and descend in the birth canal in an optimal position.


Repeytyminen

Tearing

When pressure and pushes lacerates the perineum, vulva or vagina. Some tears require stitches, others don’t. A tear heals faster than a straight cut (episiotomy) because it follows the fibres of your skin tissue.


Sikiökalvojen puhkaisu

Rupture of membranes

Rupture of membranes (ROM) or amniorrhexis is a term used during pregnancy to describe a rupture of the amniotic sac. Normally, it occurs spontaneously at full term during labour. Rarely, it doesn’t happen and the baby is born “en caul”. Rupture of the membranes is known colloquially as "breaking the water”. Membranes are sometimes artificially broken to kick start or accelerate labour.


Spinaali

Spinal

Single dose anaesthetic injection in the spinal fluid. Acts quickly in numbing the saddle area. The risks are hypotension, difficulty to push, severe itching, headache, medication crosses the baby bloodstream, challenged breastfeeding.


Supistus

Contractions

Oh, the c-word. Call them “surges” just like Ina May Gaskin does. Suddenly these waves are more pleasurable.


Synnytyksen käynnistys

Birth induction

When nature is assisted by the human’s touch.


Synnytys

Birth

A new beginning.


Synnytys laskettu aika

Due date

Are babies just like industrial pizzas? Let’s talk about an approximate due month, shall we?


Synnytysosasto

Delivery ward

This is the ward dedicated to birth.


Syntymärefleksi

Fetal ejection reflex (FER)

This is a natural process happening during an undisturbed birth. High levels of adrenaline can trigger the foetal ejection reflex. The surge triggers strong, rapid contractions which move the baby from the uterus and into the birth canal. The pressure of the baby in the vagina stimulates the Ferguson reflex, which is the uncontrollable expulsion of the baby, which happens when nerves in the pelvis are stimulated as the baby descends through the birth canal. This biofeedback sends messages to the brain to release even more oxytocin, resulting in two or three strong contractions. The baby is born quickly and easily without voluntary pushing from the mother. More about FER.


Testi

Test

Like in ovulation test, pregnancy test, amniotic fluid test, GBS+ test.


Tens-laite

Tens machine / Tens unit

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Electrodes are sticked on your skin and you press a button to deliver an electric shock. It feels like thousands needles. Another pain tricker that makes endorphins kick in.


Ultraääni

Ultrasound

Type of imagery that uses sound waves to produces pictures of the inside of the body. It helps dating the pregnancy and the child’s healthy development. In Finland there are 2 routine ultrasounds: the early pregnancy ultrasound scan, (week 10+0 – 13+6) and the structural ultrasound scan (week 19–21).


Vyöterapia

Reflexology

Similar to acupressure but specialised in hands and feet. Each spot is linked to an organ or system.


Äitiysloma

Maternity leave

In Finland, you get a maternity allowance for 105 working days minimum (4 months). After the maternity leave, there is the parental leave to share as you agree with the partner. More info on Kela’s website.

© Ilmatar Doula 2020. 

Ilmatar

Doula

Tel: 040 145 9457

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