The third and the final trimester of a pregnancy is a period of mixed feelings for the expectant mother. If you can relate to this, remember that it is important to stay relaxed and calm at this time of all other phases in life. Third trimester will see you undergo a few specific tests to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing as intended. Depending on your age, health, family medical history, and other such factors, you will be offered various tests. This article will brief you about some of the common third trimester tests, and their significance.
Since third trimester is the time when the woman’s body gets gradually ready for the mammoth task of childbirth ahead, you might experience a few symptoms, such as:
Pregnancy blood tests in third trimester include the following:
Apart from the blood tests, other 3rd trimester tests and procedures include:
Test group B streptococcus (GBS) infection
It is carried out between 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. Group B streptococcus can cause serious infections in new borns. The test is done by swabbing the vagina and rectum. If the test is positive, it is important that intravenous antibiotics be administered promptly. This reduces the chances of the baby getting infected.
A non-stress test (NST) can be performed any time after 26 weeks to check the baby’s response to a stimulus. It is recommended in high-risk pregnancies or when the baby's movements are reduced. It is also done when the due date has crossed. However, an unresponsive baby isn't necessarily in danger, though further testing might be needed to be sure about the baby’s condition.
Biophysical profile (BPP)
BPP is done any time after 26 to 28 weeks and includes an ultrasound and NST. This is used to keep a check on the baby’s movement, amount of amniotic fluid, along with the heart rate response. Responses can be felt by you or observed by health care provider on sonography. The results of this test are immediately available and can be reassuring.
Contraction Stress Test
The uterus is stimulated with pitocin, which is a synthetic form of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted during childbirth which causes uterine contraction. This test allows to assess the effect of contractions on foetal heart rate. When a non-stress test or biophysical profile indicates a problem, contraction stress test is performed. It can also show stability of the baby's heart rate during contractions. It can even be done to induce labor.
You will be offered ultrasound scans to check the foetal position and decide the due date. It also helps to decide whether the delivery would be normal or a C-section.
If you have been facing any specific symptoms during pregnancy, you might need to go for additional tests advise by your doctor apart from the usual third trimester tests.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: The Triple Test - A Must For Every Pregnancy
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