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Third-Trimester Examinations and Tests

Topic Overview

Routine examinations and tests

At each prenatal visit, you can expect to be weighed and have your urine and blood pressure checked. Your health professional will monitor your fetus's growth and position by measuring the size of your uterus (fundal height) and feeling (palpating) your abdomen.

If your fetus is not in the head-down (vertex) position after 36 weeks (as confirmed by fetal ultrasound), your health professional may try to turn it gently from the outside (version). Version carries some risks, and not all health professionals are skilled in this technique. For more information, see the topic Breech Position and Breech Birth.

Late in your pregnancy, your health professional:

  • Is likely to check you for group B streptococcus, which can cause severe newborn illness, disability, or death. This is done by rubbing the vaginal and rectal areas with a cotton swab. If you test positive for group B strep, you will be treated with antibiotics during labour.
  • Will check to see how far the baby's head has dropped into your pelvis. Close to delivery, you may be checked to see whether your cervix has begun to stretch and open (cervical effacement and dilatation).
  • May check you for hepatitis B. If you test positive for hepatitis B infection, your baby will receive the hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth.
  • Will recommend you have dTap vaccine. The best time to get it is when you’re between 27 and 32 pregnant. In some situations your healthcare provider may recommend dTap be given earlier. Talk to your healthcare provider about when to get the dTap vaccine.
  • Will recommend influenza vaccine during influenza season if you have not already had it earlier in your pregnancy. You can get influenza vaccine anytime during your pregnancy. (Find out more about immunizations and pregnancy.)

Additional testing

Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn that you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your health professional right away. Not treating depression can cause problems during pregnancy and birth. To find out if you are depressed, your health professional will ask you questions about your health and your feelings.

Later in pregnancy, your health professional may recommend an amniocentesis if there is a concern about infection in the amniotic fluid. Or the test may be done to check your baby for certain types of infections or other rare problems.

Related Information

Credits

Adaptation Date: 3/19/2021

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

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