The following is an abbreviated list of medical terms that are still or were routinely used to describe common female conditions and functions. Cover the right side and quickly glance down the list of phrases on the left. After all these years, you’d think someone would have developed more (cough, choke) appropriate means of expressing these concepts.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that the English language is capable of producing more gender-sensitive terms than “senile vaginitis” or “incompetent cervix.” I suspect that no man is ever told he has a medically incompetent anything, but if he were, he might start to understand why these terms are simply inappropriate in this context. I only hope that one day these conditions will be communicated in a more enlightened way.

Advanced geriatric status
Women over 35

Senile gravida
Pregnant woman 35 or older

Elderly prima gravida
First-time pregnant woman 35 or older

Senile vaginitis
Dry vagina of (postmenopausal) woman after her estrogen levels have subsided

Vaginal atrophy
Same as above

Incompetent cervix
Cervix that tends to dilate prematurely during pregnancy

Infantile or juvenile uterus
Small, completely functional uterus

Inadequate pelvis
Pelvis considered too narrow to allow a vaginal birth

Expected date of confinement (EDC)
The due date for childbirth

Habitual aborter
A woman who tends to have recurring, spontaneous miscarriages