HealthONE March 09, 2016

Your due date is finally just around the corner! The finish line is in sight. You are no doubt eager to hold your baby and anxious about giving birth. While this is an exciting time, there are still a lot of things to consider before getting to the hospital.

Remember when you are choosing a hospital to pick one offering all the amenities you desire. We hope you choose one of our hospitals in the metro Denver area for your delivery.

Here are a few things to consider before you go into labor.

Body changes in the third trimester

  • You might start feeling mild contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions. These movements are simply a test run for your uterus in preparation for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions differ from normal contractions in their irregularity and intensity. If you experience a rapid succession of contractions, contact your doctor.
  • Now that you are close to labor, it is important to understand the difference between normal vaginal discharge and your water breaking. Your body creates a thick, clear discharge called a mucus plug. Once released, your body begins dilating your cervix in preparation for labor. This discharge is different from your water breaking. If there is a large rush of fluid released at once, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider.
  • Because your body is retaining more fluid than usual, you will experience mild to severe swelling all over your body. You will especially notice this in your hands (your rings might not fit) and in your feet (your shoes might get tighter and your feet might be sensitive). This swelling should happen gradually during your third trimester; however, if you experience sudden swelling, call your doctor right away as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy complication.
  • You may experience intense lethargy during your third trimester. Besides the tiring effects of carrying 20-35 extra pounds, your baby’s movements and frequent urination might also keep you from getting a restful night of sleep. Try to get some cat naps in during the day and go to bed on time at night.

Baby growth and development

Your baby is going through his/her last growth spurt before birth. While most of your baby’s development has already happened, there are still some key developments that happen in the third trimester.

  • Hearing is fully developed by the third trimester, but your baby is now able to react to sound in creative ways as the baby’s brain develops enough to have unique reactions to sound.
  • During the last trimester, your baby will be constantly moving. Kicking, pushing and reacting to sounds will be reassuring signs your baby is well.
  • Your baby’s lungs usually develop between weeks 27 and 35. By week 32, your baby is going to be able to breathe and open its eyes.
  • The end of the trimester is marked by a rapid weight gain. In the last eight weeks, babies usually put on half their birth weight.

Tests to discuss with your doctor

Your doctor or obstetrician may recommend some final diagnostic tests before your baby arrives. These tests are safe for both you and your baby and ensure both of your safety during delivery.

  • Group B strep (GBS) – The main cause of life-threatening infection in newborns, GBS is a bacterial infection found in the female reproductive tract that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis in the newborn. The test is usually administered somewhere between 25 and 27 weeks. If you test positive for GBS, your doctor will work with you to treat the condition so your baby will stay safe and healthy.
  • Nonstress test (NST) – A nonstress test is usually conducted during your 29th week of pregnancy. This test measures the baby’s heart when it moves. These tests are usually given if a mother feels like her baby’s movements are abnormal or if she is past her due date.
  • Biophysical profile – This test is a prenatal evaluation of your baby’s overall wellbeing and is the combination of an NST and an ultrasound screening. Doctors evaluate the results and give your baby a score to determine if your baby needs to be delivered sooner than planned.

We are so excited for you and your family! Thank you for choosing us to be your partner during your pregnancy journey. We wish you and your growing family all the best!