When I became pregnant, I sought out community in the way many do– in online message boards. Lots of message boards. These “discussions” gleamed with the promise of wisdom and camaraderie, yet, there was a roadblock. I was confronted with an array of terms and acronyms, many of which I had never seen before. My head grew foggy as my brain searched to decipher the meaning behind these almost random letters. Despite my best efforts, my initial reading of the new abbreviations and acronyms was …a bit off.

My internal monologue went something like this:

FTM “Wow, there are a lot of Female-to-Male transgender folks on this forum — pretty cool!”
DH “What the heck is that? Hmmm, must not be too important.”
TTC “This is something important. I know what it is…I just can’t think of it.”
DS “Nope, no clue.”
DF “Perhaps DS and DF are related!”
DD “The letter D is very important around here!”
EBF and NIP “I have no idea what is going on here. Perhaps I should just close my browser.”

I realized I was missing a lot of potentially important information by not knowing what the acronyms meant.

It made no sense that every message board was filled with individuals who had transitioned to a different sex or gender identity.

I had no idea who DH or DS or DD were, although I gathered they were in fact people. Even as someone who had been working in the birth community by doing reproductive justice work, and had even PICKED INA MAY GASKIN (a very famous midwife) up from the airport, I had no idea that the birth world was filled with people who used acronyms. I HATE acronyms. I find them unwelcoming and unnecessary.

It took me many months to figure out what all of the acronyms meant. Granted , this confusion is coming from a woman who had no idea what LOL meant well into the new millennium when a girlfriend was texting it to me.

Given my prior mishap, I thought it would be useful to decode commonly used acronyms for my readers.

May this list arm you with the tools necessary to go forth and connect with others! May this list help you understand what other birth workers and providers are talking about! May this list, well, may this list help you know what the heck is going on.

AC – Assisted conception
AI – Artificial insemination
AP – Attachment Parenting
ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology
BBT – Basal Body Temperature
BC – Birth Control
BF – Breastfeeding
BFN – Big Fat Negative (pregnancy test)
CD – Cloth Diaper
CM – Cervical Mucus
CVS – Chorionic Villus Sampling. A prenatal test used to determine the likelihood of genetic conditions.
DA – Dairy Allergy
DD – Dear Daughter
DF – Dear Fiance
DH – Dear Husband
DI – Donor Insemination
DPO – Days Past Ovulation
DS – Dear Son or Dear Spouse (Confusing! Context matters with this one.)
DSD – Dear Step-daughter
DSS – Dear Step-son
EBF – Exclusive Breastfeeding
EBM – Expressed Breast Milk
EDD – Estimated Due Date
EN – Extended Nursing
EP – Ectopic Pregnancy
ER – Egg Retrieval
ET – Embryo Transfer

FF – Formula Feeding
FTM – First Time Mom
GD – Gestational Diabetes
GF – Gluten-free
HPT – Home Pregnancy Test
IUI – Intrauterine Insemination
IVF – In Vitro Fertilization
LO – Little One
MC – Miscarriage
MIL – Mother-in-Law
MS – Morning Sickness
NFP – Natural Family Planning
NIP – Nursing in Public
NTNP – Not Trying/Not Preventing
O – Ovulation
OH – Other Half
OPK – Ovulation Predictor Kit
PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PG – Pregnant
POAS – Pee on a Stick
SAHM – Stay at Home Mom
SB – Stillbirth
TTC – Trying to Conceive
US – Ultrasound
VBAC – Vaginal Birth after Cesarean
WAHM – Work at Home Mom
WOHM – Work Out of Home Mom
WM – Working Mom

Mandolin is a birth and postpartum doula, and childbirth educator. You can find her teaching community-based classes as well as classes at Mary Washington Hospital. 

She loves birth, coffee, and a good spit-your-drink-out of your nose laugh.  She is the mom of a kindergartner, and works in her local community on justice issues.