Monday, April 1, 2013

German Birth Vocabulary

I speak primarily English with the midwife who'll be attending my upcoming birth, but because 1) German is fun! and 2) middle-of-the-night insomnia, I have spent some time lately learning fun fun German words related to pregnancy and birth. I thought I would share some (with genders and plurals, because learning German nouns without their accessories is sacrilegious).

NB. I am not a native German speaker, so if I get something wrong chime in. Also, no guarantee that these are the best or most common words for actual use. Like I said, this is a list for the purpose of fun fun German times.

  • der Mutterkuchen, die Mutterkuchen This is the most interesting of several word choices for placenta. It literally translates to "mother cake." I would be remiss to not include a link to this picture at this point. Go on.
  • die Gebärmutter, die Gebärmütter Continuing the mother theme, this is a word for uterus. One could translate it literally to "birth mother." The -bär- part is cognate with English bear, as in to bear children. You also get der Gebärmutterhals, die Gebärmutterhälse as a freebie - that's "birth mother neck," aka cervix.
  • das Becken, die Becken Pelvis! It also means: basin, bowl, cymbal, and various geological features with that ol' pelvisy shape. I will prove it with a selection from the hits on 'Becken':

  • das Gebärbecken, die Gebärbecken I am totally messing with you now. Birth pelvis? No, this is a birth pool.
  • die Fruchtblase, die Fruchtblasen If you're as happy about all this as I am, hold onto your hat. This one is good. Literally fruit bladder. Any guesses? Yes!- the amniotic sac. I think this is the only term for it, too, not just the funny/colloquial one.
    • "My water broke" (kind of funny in English too) = Die Fruchtblase ist geplatzt.
    • das Fruchtwasser, literally fruit water, is amniotic fluid. Yummmm.
    • (Ok, in fairness, die Frucht, die Früchte can mean progeny, yield, and embryo, so I imagine it has a slightly different spin to a native German speaker. But fruit is definitely the primary definition.)
  •  die Nabelschnur, die Nabelschnüre This one is straightforward, but more fun to say in German. Nabel is cognate with, and means, navel; Schnur is just cord or string. Hence: umbilical cord. But watch this:
    • abnabeln Our first verb - to cut the umbilical cord. Look, the German is so concise.
    • die Abnabelung, die Abnabelungen And a matching noun, meaning the cutting or clamping of the umbilical cord.
  • der Kaiserschnitt, die Kaiserschnitte Cesarean section = emperor/kaiser+cut. Again, straightforward but still funny somehow.
I'll let you know if I discover more ...

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