Once you reach the third trimester, you’ll have more frequent antenatal appointments (particularly if it’s your first pregnancy), to monitor your bump’s growth and listen in to your baby’s heartbeat.
These appointments may be with your midwife (like mine) or your obstetrician, depending on the care you’ve been receiving and whether your pregnancy is deemed “low risk” or not.
After your 28 week antenatal appointment, you’ll be likely to have an appointment at 31, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 41 weeks’ pregnant (if you get that far).
These appointments usually only last about 20 minutes and this is usually what happens:
- your midwife will take and test a urine sample (to see there’s no sign of increased protein or infection)
- your blood-pressure will be checked
- they may take a blood sample (this usually happens at around 31 weeks) just to keep an eye on your iron levels etc.
- you will be asked how you feel, if you’ve had any swelling or reasons for concern
- you will be asked how frequently your baby is moving (and told to notify them if this changes)
- your midwife will measure the size of your bump, lying on your back, with a tape measure (this measurement is taken from the top of the uterus (quite high up your bump by this stage) down to the mid point of your pubic bone
- this measurement is only a rough indication, but will be tracked on your growth chart in your notes, to make sure everything seems about on track
- your midwife will have a feel of your bump to determine the position of your baby (in the latter stages of the final trimester, you’ll want your baby to be head down…but bear in mind, they do often wriggle around, right until the last couple of weeks!)
- your midwife will listen in to your baby’s heartbeat using a doppler and some gel on your bump (this is the magical moment that never gets dull)
During these antenatal appointments, your midwife will start to address your labour and offer you advice on how to recognise the onset of labour, when to go into the hospital or birthing centre and techniques for managing the pain. They will also obviously discuss information relative to your birth specifically – perhaps induction, caesarean section etc.
You will also be asked if you have been informed about breast-feeding in your antenatal or NCT classes and may be given some additional information or advice to take away with you.
At 38 weeks, when you are full-term, your midwife or obstetrician is likely to discuss the plan-of-action if you are to go over your due date. Whether it is safe and you’re happy to wait until 42 weeks, whether an induction or a “sweep” might be necessary (a sweep is when the opening of the cervix is stimulate by the midwife to encourage your body to go into labour) or whether there is any reason for a c-section. They will offer your advice on the best solution for you and it is important to not feel pressured into anything you don’t feel comfortable with. This is also the time when they may decide to monitor your baby for an hour or two, to make sure everything is on track.
So that’s a brief summary of your third trimester antenatal appointments and what you can likely expect. However every pregnancy and birth is different, so your appointments may differ slightly from what is said above.
How are you getting on in the third trimester?
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