Obstetric and Neonatology combining forms.

nat/o – birth
par/o, part/o – bear, give birth to, labor, childbirth
puerper/o – childbirth

Mother              Child
par/o                  nat/o

When looking at the combining forms grouped by mother and child, it occurs to me that all of the combining forms relating to mother begin with “p”. A mother is a “parent,” so it helps me remember that when I see a term built from a combining form related to childbirth that starts with the letter “p” it will describe the “parent” or, more specifically, the mother. If the term is built from a combining form starting with an “n”, it will describe the child, or newborn.

Medical Terms
Let’s apply this new information to terms using combining forms related to childbirth and consider whom the term describes.

Term                        Definition                               Who
postpartum             after childbirth                       mother
postnatal                 pertaining to after birth        child
para                          birth                                         mother
peurperal                 pertaining to childbirth         mother

So we have taken a step towards sorting out combining forms and terms related to childbirth. May your studies go well!

Until next time,


Reference List

Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 32e. (2012). Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier.

LaFleur Brooks, M., LaFleur Brooks, D. (2014). Exploring Medical Language, 9e. St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier.


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