What to Expect at Your Prenatal Visits, 33 - 36 weeks

If your pregnancy is progressing normally, you probably will be visiting our doctors and nurses every other week during this time period. At 36 weeks gestation, your provider may schedule weekly visits until your baby arrives. At each visit you can expect the routine:

  • Your weight measured
  • Your blood pressure taken
  • Your urine analyzed
  • Your abdomen measured to check you baby's growth (fundal height)
  • Your baby's heartbeat listened to
  • A vaginal exam may be done at each visit to:
    • Identify the part of your baby that is positioned at the cervix. This is called the presenting part.
    • Determine the level of your baby in the pelvis. This is called station. Evaluate the shape and size of the pelvis. This is done to determine whether your baby will have sufficient room for a vaginal delivery.
    • Assess cervical change. Two separate evaluations will be made, one determining how much the cervix is opening (dilation) and the other detecting how much the cervix is shortening and thinning (effacement).
    • Your midwife/doctor may choose not to perform a cervical exam.

Depending upon your individual situation, you may also discuss:

  • Vaginal cultures and any indications to test for infection.
  • Prenatal testing procedures or laboratory tests that have been performed since your last visit or that are scheduled for the near future.
  • Choices of birth control methods following delivery. If you want to have your fallopian tubes tied for permanent birth control (tubal ligation), talk to our doctors and nurses at this time.
  • If you have either gestational hypertension (high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy) or gestational diabetes (the type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy), you will be given very specific care guidelines.

These may include special instructions on:

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Medication
  • Prenatal testing
  • Testing of your blood pressure and blood sugars at home

For your health and the health of your baby, it is extremely important that you follow any instructions precisely. Report these symptoms that could indicate a problem include the following:

  • Weakness and shakiness
  • Cool and clammy skin
  • Changes in vision (spots before the eyes or blurred vision)
  • Change in fetal movement pattern
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Increased edema

If a cesarean birth or induction of labor is best for you and your baby, you may receive information during the prenatal visit. Your provider will discuss when the procedure will be scheduled, necessary laboratory work, what you and your partner need to know in advance, and other key facts.

Finally, plan to talk to your midwife/doctor about the pediatrician or family physician you have selected for your newborn.

Reprinted by Pregnancy.org, LLC from Her HealthCare.