During the third trimester, a number of important body developments take place. A wide array of tests is conducted to see if the foetus has developed properly and the foetus’ position in the body is ideal for delivery.
The below list gives a comprehensive list of the most common tests that a mother has to undergo during the third trimester:
- Kick count screening – Doctors may advise this test to mothers who are carrying multiples, who has some chronic health conditions, or if the baby’s movements are not being sensed enough.This is an observation-based screening where mothers are told to lie on their sides and count the total time taken for the baby to move 10 times in such a way that the movements can be sensed and picked up by the mother.
- Non-stress test – This test is recommended for women carrying multiples or who have high blood pressure or diabetes. The test involves monitoring recording the baby’s heart rate with the used of an electronic motor which is strapped across the mother’s abdomen.
This is also called electronic foetal heart monitoring.
- Ultrasound scans – This is perhaps the most important test during the third trimester. Doctors will be able to clearly see what is happening to the developing baby inside the mother’s womb through sonography.Ultrasounds are also used to detect birth defects and to check foetal growth and position, which is important for also determining the baby’s due dates. It is also important for indicating the position of the placenta in late pregnancy, record foetal heartbeat or breathing movements, and to check the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus.
- Amniocentesis – Although this test is done in the second trimester, doctors may recommend this in the third trimester too if they believe the mother is at risk of premature delivery or if the baby is suspected of carrying anaemia. Foetal anaemia occurs more in women who are Rh negative.
- Group B streptococcus screening – This test is done around the last stages of pregnancy to detect the group B-step bacteria, somewhere around the 35th and 37th This test is important because streptococcus can cause life-threatening disorders like mental retardation, impaired vision, and hearing loss.
- Biophysical profile – It is a combination of non-stress tests with ultrasound tests which measure four foetal characteristics like breathing movements, muscle tone, body movements, and the amount of amniotic fluid.