Prenatal Visits in the Third Trimester

Third Trimester Appointments

Pensive pregnant woman holding stomach in examination room
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You have been hopefully getting prenatal care since the first trimester. This means that you have had seven or eight visits with your doctor or midwife by the time you make it to your third trimester. Seeing your practitioner every month probably didn't seem like it was very often, but as the end of your pregnancy gets closer, the visits will ramp up in the frequency with which you will see your practitioner.

This is to ensure that you and baby are growing well and not experiencing any worrisome symptoms.

How often will you have a prenatal visit?

Typically the third trimester is when your prenatal appointments are scheduled differently. From week 27 or 28 you will typically see your doctor or midwife every other week. Around week 36 you will begin to see your midwife or doctor on an every week schedule. This weekly appointment schedule will continue until the birth of your baby, though some practitioners will have you come in every couple of days from weeks 41 onward until you give birth.

If you have complications or need special care you may see your practitioner more often than this schedule. This may include specialized testing related to your health or the baby's health. This will vary from woman to women and sometimes even practitioner to practitioner.

Common Tests in the Third Trimester

The tests that you may have in the final trimester will have some form and function, while others will be only ordered if you or your baby are having complications.

Here are some of the more common tests performed in the third trimester appointments:

Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT)

This test is done to check for gestational diabetes (GD). This is a screening test done for almost all pregnant women to see how your blood sugar does when given a drink full of sugar. If you do not pass this test you will be given a lengthier test before a diagnosis is made.

This test is usually done between weeks 24-28.

Group B Strep Testing

Around week 34-36, you will have a swab done of your vagina and rectum. They are look for a bacteria known as group B strep (GBS). GBS is a pretty common thing for women to have on their bodies, and it will not bother you. But, at the time of birth, it is possible to pass this along to the baby. So antibiotics will be given in labor to reduce the risk of giving your baby GBS.

Non-stress Testing (NST)

This test is not necessarily one that everyone will have. It may be done weekly from about the 36th week if you have a medical history that causes a recommendation for this testing. It may also happen if you are having complications or if you are past your due date. This can usually be performed in the office.

Bio Physical Profile (BPP)

The BPP is a test that is done combining an ultrasound and the non-stress test. It is a late pregnancy test for how well your baby is doing. This may be done before recommending an induction or other intervention.

The following additional tests may also be recommended for a variety of reasons but are much less likely to be offered at the end of pregnancy.

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