Third Trimester: To Do, Cautions, Signs of Labor

This is Part 3 of 3

To Do List for the Third Trimestermonths 7, 8, 9

As the anxiety of delivery creeps in, there is still a number of things for you to keep busy with.

  • Baby’s movements – Keep track of the baby’s movements. This helps you know if your baby has stopped moving, which can be a signal that there is a problem. If you do not feel your baby moving as it normally does, then contact your physician.
  • Prenatal visits – Talk with your physician about the schedule for your prenatal visits and tests during this trimester of your pregnancy.
  • Breastfeed or Bottle-feedChildbirth classes – Consider childbirth classes. The more you learn about your upcoming delivery the more secure you will feel.
  • Breast or bottle – After choosing a pediatric physician for your baby, consider if you are going to breast feed or bottle feed your baby.
  • Back to work or Stay at home – The decision needs to be made at this time, regarding going back to work or staying home with the baby. This is something that has to be discussed with your partner and a mutual decision made.
  • The nursery – This is also the time when you finish your nursery and buying baby clothes, if this is not already done.
  • SIDS – Consider where your baby will sleep. Making this decision is important, following the basic guidelines for safety, reduces your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Talk with your baby – Last but not the least, talk with your baby, this is the best way for he or she to develop language skills. Your baby can hear your voice, so talk, sing or just pat your stomach. It may seem a little unusual, but read a book, magazine or share your dreams or wishes with your baby.

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Cautions During the Third Trimester

Your physician usually screens for gestational diabetes, anemia and Group B strep.

  • Anemia – Anemia is an abnormal low level of red blood cells. If the anemia is bad enough it can slow down the baby’s growth or even trigger preterm labor. You might have to take iron supplements if your levels are low enough.
  • Group B strep – This is a bacteria that lives in your rectum or vagina. It is harmless to you but can cause a serious infection for your baby after birth. If the Group B strep is positive, your physician will recommend antibiotics while you are in labor.
  • Bleeding, dizzy, pain – If you start having vaginal bleeding, dizziness, or severe abdominal pain, call your physician immediately.
  • When water breaks – Regular labor pains and the passing of fluid when your water breaks is normal.
  • Bleeding – If this happens in the later part of your pregnancy it can be a serious threat to you and your baby’s life.
  • Placenta – Placenta Praevia (placenta is abnormally located) or Abruptio Placentae (the placenta separates early), is a medical emergency.
  • Pre-eclampsia – If you experience persistent swelling of your feet, hands or face, along with shortness of breath, call your physician immediately. This can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. This is high blood pressure that causes complications in about 10% of pregnancies.

Signs of Labor

Your third trimester is finally coming to its end and you’re feeling tired and exhausted. Having more trouble sleeping or getting comfortable adds to these problems.

The third trimester marks the home stretch, as you prepare for the delivery of your baby.

Knowing what the early signs of labor are will make you more secure.

After your baby drops, your cervix starts to thin out.

  • Mucous plug – You will not be able to determine this but as it starts to thin, the mucous plug is sometimes discharged. This is a thick plug of mucous, which prevents bacteria from entering the uterus during pregnancy.
  • Water breaks - Sometimes your water breaks or leaks and fluid will come out with a trickle or a gush. Not all women experience their water breaking, a lot of times this is done during labor.
  • Contractions – The most reliable sign of labor is contractions. True labor contractions are regular, close together, cover the entire abdomen, are not stopped by pain relievers and will progressively change the cervix. This is the time when you need to contact your physician and make the final preparations for birth.

Try to relax as much as possible, you will soon be holding your precious baby in your arms.

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