NMPA Glossary

Below are the definitions and abbreviations used in NMPA reports.

Abbreviation/Term          Definition
Alongside midwifery unit (AMU) A facility where midwives have primary responsibility for care of women at low risk of complications during labour and birth. An alongside midwifery unit is located on the same site as an obstetric unit so it has access to the same medical facilities if required.

The number of amniotic membranes that surround the fetuses in a multiple pregnancy. 

Amniotic fluid  Fluid surrounding the baby. A number of maternal and fetal conditions are associated with abnormal amniotic fluid volume.
Antimicrobial Medicines that are used to treat bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.
Antimicrobial resistance Occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medication. This makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. 
APACHE II score A case mix adjustment system for scoring clinical risk in patients admitted to an intensive care unit.
Apgar score An Apgar score is determined by evaluating the baby’s physiological condition at specific time points – often 1 minute and 5 minutes. Five criteria (appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration) are scored between 0 and 2, with the resulting combined score ranging from 0 to 10. A score of 7–10 is considered within the ‘normal range’ and a score of less than 7 is a sign the baby needs medical attention.
Appropriate for gestational age (AGA)A baby with estimated fetal weight or actual birthweight between the 10th and 90th centile for gestational age, as defined by UK 1990 population centiles.
Assisted vaginal birth  Birth with the assistance of either a ventouse cup or forceps. Also known as instrumental birth.
ATAIN Avoiding Term Admissions Into Neonatal units (ATAIN) is a NHS England sponsored programme of work to reduce harm leading to avoidable admission to a neonatal unit for infants born at term, i.e. ≥ 37+0 weeks gestation. The programme is led by clinical experts from a range of organisations, , who work together to offer system-wide insights, practice points and evidence for healthcare organisations and professionals.
BadgerNet Neonatal
The electronic medical record IT system containing neonatal care records, used by hospitals providing neonatal care in Great Britain. 
BAPMBritish Association of Perinatal Medicine.
BiPAP Bi-level positive airway pressure is a mode of non-invasive ventilation that reduces the work a baby may require to breathe, by providing two levels of pressure of air (with or without added oxygen) for support during inspiration and expiration.
Birth order  Denotes which baby of a multiple birth was born first, second, third or fourth. 
Birthing person/people
The term birthing people is used throughout NMPA reports and outputs. It is important to acknowledge that it is not only people who identify as women who need to access gynaecology and maternity services.
BMI Body mass index, an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. Measured in kilograms of weight, divided by squared height in metres (kg/m2).
Case ascertainment
The proportion of cases identified (e.g. women admitted to intensive care during pregnancy), out of the maximum that could be identified.
Case mix
The demographic characteristics and state of health of the people using a particular health service.
Case Mix Programme dataset
A dataset collected by ICNARC on a voluntary basis about all patients admitted to general intensive care units in England and Wales.
CHI The Community Health Index (CHI) is a population register, which is used for patients resident in Scotland for health care purposes. The CHI number is a unique numeric identifier, allocated to each patient on first registration with the Service The CHI number is a 10-character code consisting of the 6-digit patient date of birth (format: ddmmyy), two digits, a 9th digit which is always even for females and odd for males and an arithmetical check digit.
The number of outer membranes of the pregnancy, indicating the number of placentas in a multiple pregnancy. 
Medical software company who run the BadgerNet neonatal and maternity IT records system. Clevermed was bought by System C in 2023.
Continuous positive airway pressure is a mode of non-invasive ventilation that reduces the work a baby may require to breathe, by providing a continuous positive pressure of air (with or without added oxygen) for support during inspiration and expiration.
Community Perinatal Mental Health Teams support women and birthing people who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health problems in the perinatal period to recover in the community. They also offer pre-conception advice to those with an existing mental health problem who are planning a pregnancy.
CQC Care Quality Commission, responsible for inspecting healthcare services.
Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team, multidisciplinary specialist mental health team that provide rapid assessment and intensive home treatment to people experiencing a mental health crisis, with the aim of averting hospital admission.
Critical care
Multidisciplinary, specialised care provided to patients who have a serious but treatable medical condition, requiring a higher ratio of staff to patients than is usually provided in a hospital, close observation and/or specialised treatments that replace the function of one or more organs. Care is sometimes described by ‘levels’, with level 0 representing normal hospital ward based care; level 1 representing more frequent observations or other concerns; level 2 representing support of a single organ; and level 3 representing multi-organ support or mechanical ventilation.
Critical Care Minimum Dataset (CCMDS)
A data standard for use in datasets collecting information about critical care admissions for the purpose of payment of providers.
Cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that flows in and around the brain and spinal cord.
Chorionic villus sampling. An invasive test to sample genetic material from the placenta, to diagnose fetal genetic disorders.
Data zoneA geographical area used for population level statistics by Government and researchers in Scotland. Typically with a resident population of 700-800 persons. The equivalent in England and Wales are 'LSOA'.
Dichorionic diamniotic twin pregnancy. Each baby has a separate placenta (dichorionic) and amniotic sac (diamniotic). 
Deterministic linkage
Matching records between databases by comparing one or more fields that uniquely identify an individual (e.g. an individual’s study ID) between the records; a link is made if they all agree.
Early Onset Neonatal Sepsis
Infection affecting a newborn baby in the first 72 hours of life.
Estimated due date, the date given as an estimate for birth of the baby, calculated as 40 completed weeks of pregnancy. Methods for calculating are the addition of 280 days from the first day of the last menstrual period, or alternatively from an early-pregnancy ultrasound scan.
Elective caesarean birth  
 Planned caesarean birth before labour onset.
Emergency caesarean birth
Unplanned caesarean birth (prior to, or during labour).
English Maternal Morbidity Outcome Indicator, a composite measure of 14 diagnoses and 9 procedures relevant to measure maternal morbidity.
English Neonatal Adverse Outcome Indicator, a composite measure of 16 diagnoses and 7 procedures relevant to measure severe adverse neonatal outcomes.
Episiotomy A cut through the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) and skin to facilitate birth of the baby.
ForcepsAn instrument to assist vaginal birth.
Freestanding Midwifery Unit (FMU)
A facility where midwives have primary responsibility for care during labour in women and birthing people at low risk of complications and which is not located on the same site as an obstetric unit.

Group B Streptococcus is a type of bacteria which lives in the intestines, rectum and vagina of between 20% and 40% women in the UK.

Group B Strep Support (GBSS) is the world’s leading charity working to eradicate group B Strep infection in babies.
Great Britain (GB)
The island consisting of England, Scotland and Wales.
High dependency unit (HDU)
See ‘critical care’, a unit which predominantly provides level 2 critical care. The term is sometimes used in maternity settings to denote an area where unwell patients can be provided with some, but not all features of level 2 critical care.
Higher order birth
Birth of three or more babies. 
Hospital Episode Statistics Admitted Patient Care (HES APC)
An NHS England dataset containing information about individuals admitted to NHS hospitals in England.
Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. An independent organisation aiming to improve health outcomes by enabling those who commission, deliver and receive healthcare to measure and improve healthcare services.
Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis, are antibiotics given to a pregnant woman or person whose baby is at risk of early onset neonatal infection.
International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.
Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre.
Intensive Care Society.
Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)
A within-country area-based measure of relative socio-economic deprivation based on domains of income, employment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and services, and the living environment.
Instrumental birth
Birth with the assistance of either a ventouse cup or forceps. Also known as assisted vaginal birth.
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
See ‘critical care’, a unit which predominantly provides level 3 critical care.
During labour and birth.
Intrauterine death
Death of a fetus during pregnancy as a result of stillbirth or termination of the pregnancy. 
Intrauterine fetal laser therapy
An invasive procedure where a laser is introduced through a keyhole port into the pregnant uterus to block blood vessels that communicate between two fetuses, causing twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. 
Information Services Division, a division of National Services Scotland, part of NHS Scotland.
International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Labour augmentation
A process where the progress of labour is boosted by administration of an oxytocin infusion and/or by amniotomy (artificial breaking of the waters).
Large for gestational age (LGA)
Large for gestational age. A baby with estimated fetal weight or actual birthweight greater than the 90th centile for gestational age, as defined by UK 1990 population centiles.
The joining of two or more separate datasets to enrich the information on the individuals in the datasets. Datasets can be joined using (pseudo) identifiers and/or a combination of other fields to match the records from the separate datasets.
Local Maternity System (LMS) and Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS)
The maternity element of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships in England. They are collaborations between maternity service providers, commissioners and other stakeholders, tasked with planning and coordinating local services across organisational boundaries.
Local Neonatal Unit (LNU)
See "Neonatal Unit (NNU)". In a hospital setting, an LNU may be referred to as 'NICU' or 'SCBU', either verbally or on signs/literature, regardless of the level of care provided.
Lower-layer super output area (LSOA)A geographical area used for population level statistics by Government and researchers. Typically comprising 400-1200 households in England and wales with a resident population of 1000-3000 persons. The equivalent in Scotland are 'data zones'.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Lumbar puncture (LP)
Lumbar puncture. The procedure where a small needle is used to extract a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from around the lower region of the spinal cord.
Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK; the collaboration appointed by the HQIP to run the national Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme, conducting surveillance and investigating the causes of maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths.
Monochorionic diamniotic twin pregnancy. Both babies share a placenta (monochorionic) but have separate amniotic sacs (diamniotic). 
Monochorionic monoamniotic twin pregnancy. Both babies share a placenta (monochorionic) and amniotic sac (monoamniotic). 
Mechanical ventilation
With respect to the neonatal measures, refers to a baby who is intubated with an endotracheal tube and attached to a ventilator. This is also known as “invasive ventilation”. This does not include non-invasive ventilation (CPAP, BiPAP, high flow oxygen via nasal cannulae).
Mental Health Services Data Set
Maternity Indicators dataset, managed by Digital Health and Care Wales. This captures a selected subset of data items from the maternity IT systems in Welsh health boards.
The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks of gestation.
Mother and Baby Unit (MBU)
Inpatient psychiatric mother-and-baby unit.
Maternity Services Data Set, managed by NHS England. a patient-level data set that captures information about activity carried out by English NHS maternity services relating to mothers and birthing people, and babies. Data are captured from the point of the first booking appointment until discharge from maternity services.
Multiparous is used to describe a woman or birthing person who has given birth more than once.
Multiple birth
A birth of more than one infant, regardless of whether that infant is liveborn or stillborn. 
Multiple Births Foundation
A UK charity providing information and education for professionals, and support for families with multiple births.
Multiple pregnancy
A pregnancy with more than one fetus. 
National Community Child Health Database (Wales). 
Neonatal Data Analysis Unit, at Imperial College London.
Neonatal death
The death of a baby within the first 28 days of life.
Neonatal encephalopathy
A heterogeneous, clinically defined syndrome characterised by disturbed brain function in the earliest days of life in a baby born at or beyond 35 weeks of gestation, manifested by a reduced level of consciousness or seizures, often accompanied by difficulty with initiating and maintaining breathing, and by depression of tone and reflexes.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) 
See "Neonatal Unit (NNU)". NICU is the most specialised level of neonatal care. NICU may also be used to describe the neonatal unit in a hospital, either verbally or on signs/literature, regardless of the unit level.
Neonatal network
Linked group of neonatal care providers working in a coordinated way to ensure equitable provision of high‐quality clinically effective services, unconstrained by existing professional and geographical boundaries.
Neonatal Unit (NNU)
A hospital ward for the provision of specialist care to neonates. Neonatal care is organised according to both a description of the type of unit providing the care and the level of care provided. A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) provides the whole range of care for their local population, as well as providing care for babies referred from other units who require more specialised (intensive) care.  A local neonatal unit (LNU) provides special care, high dependency and a restricted volume of intensive care. A special care unit (SCU) provide special care for their own local population as well as some high dependency care and stabilisation prior to transfer for all babies. 
NHS board/local health board
In Scotland and Wales, NHS services are provided by 14 NHS boards and seven local health boards respectively, which each include a number of hospitals and community services. There are also 3 NHS Trusts in Wales.
NHS Digital NHS Digital became part of NHS England in February 2023. 
NHS NumberThe NHS number is a unique 10-digit number allocated to every patient in England, Wales and the Isle of Man, either at birth or when NHS care is accessed for the first time, usually by registering with a GP practice.
NHS trust (‘trusts’)
In England and Wales, NHS services are provided by NHS trusts, of which there are 229 in England and 3 in Wales.
NHS England.
NHS England and NHS Improvement. NHS Improvement became a part of NHS England in July 2022. The name 'NHS Improvement' is now defunct.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
National Maternity and Perinatal Audit.
National Neonatal Audit Programme. Established in 2006 to assess whether babies admitted to neonatal units in England and Wales receive consistent and high-quality care as measured by adherence to a set of agreed professional guidelines and standards.
National Neonatal Research Database.
National Records of Scotland
Nulliparous is used to describe a woman or birthing person who has not previously given birth.
Obstetric anal sphincter injury, which can extend from the vaginal wall and backwards through the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) to the muscle that controls the back passage (anal sphincter).
Obstetric unit (OU)
Obstetric unit, a maternity unit where care is provided by a team of midwives and doctors to women and birthing people at low and at higher risk of complications. All women and birthing people will be cared for by midwives during pregnancy, birth and after the birth. Midwives have primary responsibility for providing care during and after labour to those at low risk of complications, while obstetricians have primary responsibility for those who are at increased risk of, or who develop, complications. Diagnostic and medical treatment services – including obstetric, neonatal and anaesthetic care – are available on site.
Office for National Statistics.
Office for Population Censuses and Surveys Classification of Surgical Operations and Procedures, fourth revision.
The number of times a woman or birthing person has given birth to a liveborn baby at any gestation, or at or after 24 weeks of gestation regardless of whether the baby was liveborn or stillborn.
Patient Episode Database for Wales, a routinely collected dataset of hospital care in Wales.
Related to events around the time of birth.
Personal Demographics Service (PDS)
The national electronic database of NHS patient demographic data, such as name, address, date of birth and NHS number.
The database contains a central record of the demographics for each person registered for, or in receipt of, health and care services commissioned by NHS organisations in England, Wales, the Isle of Man, or UK defence medical services. 
Placenta praevia
A pregnancy complication in which the placenta implants low in the uterus, necessitating birth by caesarean section. This can lead to severe bleeding.
Placental abruption
A pregnancy complication in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the wall of the uterus, usually necessitating immediate caesarean section birth.
The number of babies a woman is expecting in this pregnancy.
PMHPerinatal Mental Health is the overarching term for mental health during pregnancy and the year following childbirth.
The period immediately following birth, defined for the baby
Postnatal ward
The ward or area where mothers and their babies are cared for following birth.
The period following childbirth, defined for the mother. Typically in the UK, this period covers the first six-eight weeks following childbirth.
Post-termA post-term or prolonged pregnancy is one that has extended to or beyond 42+0 weeks of gestation.
A pregnancy complication which is characterised by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and oedema (fluid retention) and can lead to poor outcomes for both mothers and babies.
Prelabour caesarean birth 
A caesarean birth that is carried out prior to the spontaneous or induced onset of labour. This may be planned or conducted as an emergency. 
Preterm birth
Birth of a baby before 37+0 weeks of gestation.
Primiparous is used to describe a woman or birthing person giving birth for the first time.
Probabilistic linkage 
A method that uses statistical theory to match records between databases by comparing multiple fields that may not uniquely identify an individual (e.g. birthweight, gestation at birth, maternal age).  Record pais are given scores ('match weights') representing the likelihood, or probability, that they belong to the same individual. 
Public Health England (PHE)Replaced in October 2021 by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).
RCGPRoyal College of General Practitioners.
Royal College of Midwives.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Registrable birth
In UK law, a birth is registrable, meaning it will be recorded in national statistics and issued with a certificate of birth for all liveborn babies whatever the length of the completed pregnancy. A stillbirth is considered to be a registrable birth if it occurs after 24 completed weeks of gestation.
Robson groups
A system that classifies women into ten groups based on their obstetric characteristics (parity, previous caesarean section, gestational age, onset of labour, fetal presentation and the number of babies).
Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle.
Scottish Birth Record, a dataset recording all births in Scotland, managed by the Information Services Division.
Special care baby unit. The lowest level of neonatal unit, usually providing care for babies born after 34 weeks of gestation. 
Scottish Birth Record
A dataset recording all births in Scotland, managed by Public Health Scotland Data and Intelligence.
A secundiparous woman is a woman having a second birth.
The life-threatening condition that may lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death, that can occur in response to an infection.
Small for Gestational Age (SGA)
Babies who are born with a birthweight less than the 10th centile for their gestational age at birth, as defined by UK 1990 population centiles.
Second generation surveillance system, the national laboratory reporting system used in England to capture routine laboratory data on mainly infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.
Scottish Morbidity Record 01, a dataset containing information about general/acute inpatient and day case admissions in Scotland, managed by Public Health Scotland Data and Intelligence.
Scottish Morbidity Record 02, a dataset containing information about maternity inpatient and day case admissions in Scotland, managed by Public Health Scotland Data and Intelligence.
Scottish Morbidity Record-04, Mental Health Inpatient and Day Case data set (psychiatric hospital admissions).
Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms 
Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) or Special Care Unit (SCU) 
See "Neonatal Unit (NNU)". In a hospital setting, the terms 'NICU' or 'SCBU' may be used to describe a neonatal unit, either verbally or on signs/literature, regardless of the level of care provided.
The birth of a baby without signs of life at or after 24 weeks of gestation.
TAMBA/Twins Trust 
Twins Trust (formerly TAMBA – Twins and Multiple Births Association). A UK charity supporting women and families with multiple births. 
Term gestation
Between 37+0 and 41+6 weeks of gestation. 
Therapeutic hypothermia
Lowering of body temperature in order to preserve brain function, sometimes known as ‘cooling’.
Third and fourth degree tear
A tear from childbirth that extends into the anal sphincter (third degree tear) or mucosa (fourth degree tear).
Transitional care (TC) or Neonatal Transitional Care (NTC)
Supports resident mothers as primary care providers for their babies with care requirements in excess of normal newborn care, but who do not require admission to a neonatal unit. Transitional Care is a service and not necessarily a location, TC may be provided on a postnatal ward, as part of a neonatal unit or in a dedicated TC ward. 
Trichorionic triamniotic
Usually a triplet pregnancy with three placentas (trichorionic) and three amniotic sacs (triamniotic). 
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
Also known as feto-fetal transfusion syndrome. A complication of monochorionic pregnancies where twins share communicating blood vessels, resulting in one twin getting a disproportionate amount of the blood supply, to the cost of the other twin. 
UK Sepsis Trust
The UK's leading sepsis charity, raising awareness & providing vital support to those affected.
UK Health Security Agency. Previously known as Public Health England (PHE). 
Unassisted vaginal birth
Vaginal birth without the use of instruments. This is not synonymous with ‘freebirth’.
The UK committee for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Vaginal birth after caesarean birth.
An instrument to assist vaginal birth using a vacuum cup applied to the baby’s head.
Venous thromboembolism, comprising deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism. These are blood clots that form and block blood vessels. Pulmonary embolism is a leading preventable cause of maternal death worldwide. 
World Health Organisation.