outdated pregnancy terms
Image: Freestocks via Unsplash

This Is Why Harmful Pregnancy Terms Desperately Need a Rebrand

We're tired of hearing terms like "incompetent cervix" and "lazy uterus".

It’s 2021 and we officially hate hearing terms like “incompetent cervix” and “lazy uterus”. As we inch a little more towards some type of gender equality (not nearly close enough), we need to rebrand the medical jargon created in the heyday of male-dominated medicine. These terms often add to institutionalized and gender-based medical bias. Frankly, they’re outdated! They stigmatize infertility, pregnancy loss, and the struggles that everyday people have when they’re trying to start or continue building their families. They’re unwelcoming environments that build towards terror and not hope.

Where do we start when trying to update these terms to better reflect a more unified front in the name of science? One such company is doing just that. The social networking app Peanut, which creates safe spaces for parents and expecting mothers to connect and share their stories, is launching a campaign to help. You can also keep reading for more on the Renaming Revolution!

outdated pregnancy terms
Image: Bethany Beck via Unsplash

Peanut’s #Renaming Revolution

According to Mashable, Peanut’s virtual social media campaign is called the Renaming Revolution. It’s also a movement to address the ways medical language is harmful to pregnant people. They’ve even released a Motherhood and Fertility Glossary, which has a list of replacement terms for the medically outdated and insensitive phrases that are used now. It’s been reviewed and used by a group of consultants that include an OB-GYN, a linguist, and several therapists. We’ve included some terms below. You can also check out the full list here.

  • Barren to reproductive challenges
  • The biological clock to family planning
  • The lazy ovary to early ovarian decrease
  • The shy cervix to posterior cervical position
outdated pregnancy terms
Image: Camila Cordeiro via Unsplash

The Phasing Out of These Terms

According to Mashable and Dr. Kathryn Menard, physician and representative of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, physicians are starting to phase out much of this offensive language. The only issue is that the medical databases that are in use in today’s society reinforce these terms. They’re in use in everything from diagnosis to getting insurance coverage. Most medical professionals are ready and willing to make these changes. They’re opening to fostering a new and more inclusive medical environment as well as stronger relationships between provider and patient. They predict that these changes will also come, just more slowly and gradually. It is also unfortunately up to the patient to bring up these issues and for a dialogue to begin around new terms. They really shouldn’t have to do so. It’s the responsibility of the medical community to update these terms.

This is what Peanut seeks to do. Once families, pregnant people, providers, and the science community get on board,  then insurance providers may change their ways. Unfortunately, women and minority communities get the short end of the stick in all aspects of healthcare, gynecology, or otherwise. Beginning to make these changes, talking to your provider, and also sharing the glossary, and more can begin to start the spark that may start the fire that begins a revolution in the field of medicine.


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