Third Trimester

More frequent rest periods may become necessary as you near your due date. Ask for help around the house with chores and preparing the baby's room. If you are continuing to participate in an exercise program, watch your balance and remember your joints are beginning to loosen in preparation for the baby's birth.

You may notice that as your tummy continues to grow, you get full faster. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This ensures that you continue to get adequate nutrition for the baby. Also continue to take your prenatal vitamins. Consult with your physician before taking any over-the-counter medication.

This is also the time during your pregnancy that you should enroll in prenatal and childbirth classes. St. Joseph Hospital offers a variety of classes to help prepare you and your partner for your baby's delivery.

Visits to your doctor's office will become more frequent as you approach your due date. During your third trimester, your physician may do a pelvic exam to check the dilation and effacement of your cervix.

Diagnostic Tests

At the beginning of your third trimester, your doctor may take your blood to determine your sugar level and your blood count. If your doctor determines that you have factors that place you or your baby "at risk" during your pregnancy, you may be referred to a maternal-fetal specialist.

Your doctor may want your baby's heart rate monitored. This non-stress test (NST) reassures your doctor that your baby is healthy and your placenta is working well. This test may be performed at the St. Joseph Hospital Maternal-Fetal Testing Center. Some physicians may perform this test in their office.

Choose your baby's doctor or pediatrician early (check with your insurance plan for covered physicians on staff at St. Joseph Hospital). Make an appointment with him or her before the delivery.

Tracking Your Baby's Health

Between visits to your physician, there are steps you can take to help monitor your baby's health. Monitoring your baby's movements is one way to observe how your baby is doing. It is also good to be aware of signs and symptoms that could be warning signs your physician would want to know about.