by Shannon Bartlett
From now until about week 36, your midwife or doctor will more than likely want to see you every two weeks to make sure everything is progressing as it should.
More frequent visits allow your practitioner to carefully monitor you and the baby. They help you feel more comfortable with the person who will be there for the birth of your child.
If you're Rh negative, you and your provider will talk about your options during this visit.
After weighing the benefits and risks of Rhogam in your particular situation, you might have the shot, hold off until after the baby's born or choose to minimize your risk of your baby's and your blood mixing during pregnancy and birth.
Action Item List
Along with your growing belly, you're also growing more aware and perhaps nervous about the eminent arrival of your new family member.
Your midwife or doctor will review the signs of preterm labor with you during the visit and discuss what you should do if you think you're going into labor.
• Bring your questions. Have you been jotting down your concerns the last couple weeks? Grab that list and bring it to your appointment.
• Schedule your Rhogam shot if you will be having one.
• Make your next appointment for two weeks from now.
• Sign up for childbirth classes. You might have already had a class by now but if not, it's time to get started.
• Rhogam and Rh factor: Your midwife or doctor might recommend a Rhogam shot around week 28, if you're Rh negative. The shot may prevent Rh incompatibility.
• Check for Anemia: Towards the beginning of the third trimester your provider might check your iron level. If it's low, you'll learn ways you can prevent and treat anemia.
• Common Third Trimester Tests: For most moms, this will be a routine visit; a chance to hear the heart and reassurance that baby's doing just fine. If your health care provider has concerns, you might be offered one of these tests:
- Glucose tolerance test
- Fetal non-stress test
- Bio physical profile
- Contraction stress test
Routine Visit Checklist
• Blood pressure check and urine test: Do you have white coat hypertension? Some moms-to-be only measure high in the doctor's office. If yours is high today, your midwife or doctor might suggest you check at home and report the results.
• Current weight: Your provider will want you to gain about a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy. If you're way over or under, you'll want to review your diet or see a nutritionist.
• Uterus size: Your fundal height in centimeters, the distance from the top of your pubic bone to the top of the uterus will correspond closely to your week of gestation.
• Baby's position: Head down is the best position for birth, but many babies don't flip until 34 to 37 weeks. If your babe's still bottoms down, there's plenty of time to turn.
• Fetal heart rate: You'll get to hear your baby's heartbeat, again.
• Talk time: You'll have a chance to talk about how you're managing various pregnancy symptoms and bring up any new concerns.
Questions to Ask
Prenatal appointments are your chance to ask questions and prepare for your baby's birth. the two-week schedule allows more time for that interaction.
Do you wonder what concerned other early third trimester moms? They asked questions like these:
• What are the most likely causes of my anemia?
• Should I keep track of my baby's kicks?
• Does heartburn get worse in the third trimester?
• What can be done if I go into preterm labor?
• How much longer can I work full time?
• Would a doula help me have natural birth?
• Can I call ahead to check if appointments are running late?
• What are the benefits and disadvantages of bed rest?
• How much swelling is normal?
Print out this article, add questions about your pregnancy and create your own list of notes to share with your healthcare provider.