Fetus or unborn child?

As indexers, we all know that our choice of words is important.  We also know that language is dynamic so we need to be aware of current usage, sometimes even “politically correct” usages.   In medical, scientific, or technical indexing we are often dealing with terms that have very specific definitions so it is easy to know what term or phrase to use:  a medical dictionary will provide a very specific definition of fetus.  For questions about alternative terms or specific use, we can go to MeSH from the National Library of Medicine.

Moving into more common usage, rather than technical, we might need to consider alternatives such as “unborn child”.  A recent update from Conscious Style Guide provided some insight into the journalistic usages of these two terms that was useful in judging context for the choice of words.

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