Antenatal Care During the Third Trimester

The third trimester is a physically demanding time on both mothers to be and their partners, as the physical stresses of a rapidly growing foetus (putting on several grams a day!) can whittle away at even the most patient of us. This last 3-month section of a pregnancy essentially involves a rapid increase in the size and weight of a foetus, and these are explored in more detail in the relevant article in this guide. Antenatal visits during this period of the pregnancy are important to establish the health of both foetus and mother, and to ensure that everything is going as it should before the big due date.

What do third trimester antenatal visits involve?

In some respects third trimester appointments, which can be carried out at your home or a local facility if necessary, are not hugely dissimilar to previous appointments you will have had during the earlier stages of your pregnancy. Either your midwife or obstetrician (the pregnancy specialist nurse and doctor respectively) will check your blood pressure, and weight, and ask you a series of questions to look for anything out of the ordinary. An ultrasound scan is often used to keep an eye on the baby’s movement and size, and you can expect questions about the baby’s movement since your last appointment.

Your third trimester appointments will usually be much more frequent than those in earlier stages of the pregnancy, and this is because your midwife or doctor will want to keep a closer eye on the progress of your pregnancy the closer you get to your due date.

During the third trimester it is also common to undergo a streptococcus group B test, which looks for a particular strain of bacteria known by that name. This form of streptococcus, also called GBS, rarely has any serious effects on adults, but can be dangerous when it affects infants.

The GBS test involves a straightforward rectal and vaginal swab, and if the test comes back positive then your medical care professional will be prepared for the bacterium and ensure that you are given the appropriate protection through antibiotics during labour.

Remember to report any unusual sensations to your doctor or midwife as soon as you can, even if you feel they are minor concerns. During the final weeks of your pregnancy it is better to be safe and ensure that your doctor or midwife know as much as possible about your physical condition to ensure that you are cared for as best as possible.

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