Third-Trimester Prenatal Visits

Unless there were problems, you have likely been seeing your doctor once or twice a month.

Chances are these visits are about to become more frequent. Starting by about week 36, your doctor may want to see you every week. These visits are to catch any last-minute problems before they can complicate the birth.

Here's what you can most likely expect from these last exams:

The basics

  • The doctor will likely start out by checking:
  • Your blood pressure and weight
  • Your hands and feet for swelling
  • Your baby's heartbeat
  • Your belly's measurement to make sure your baby is growing the right way

A urine test

  • For too much protein in your urine
    • This can be a sign of preeclampsia
  • For too much sugar in your urine
  • This can be a sign of gestational diabetes (high blood sugar)

A strep test

  • For group B streptococcus

Measurement of your cervix

  • Your doctor will check for dilation (how far your cervix has opened)
  • Your doctor will also check for effacement (how much your cervix has thinned)
  • When your baby is ready to be born, you'll be dilated 10 centimeters and 100 percent effaced

Checking the baby's position

  • Your doctor will feel your belly for your baby's body parts like the head and bottom
  • You may have a vaginal exam to make sure your baby is in a head-first position
  • If your baby's position isn't clear, an ultrasound test may be done
  • If your baby happens to be breech (feet first rather than head first), your doctor may try to turn your baby by gently pushing on your stomach

Preparing for the big day

  • These final visits are a great chance to ask about labor and delivery
  • Your doctor should give you a clear idea of how things should go
  • Talk about your birth plan and what you should do when labor starts

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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