High-Risk Pregnancy: What Expecting Moms Should Expect During the Third Trimester

High-Risk Pregnancy What Expecting Moms Should Expect During The Third Trimester

If you are expecting and you have a high-risk pregnancy, every day that passes is a milestone as you continue to carry your baby. Whether you have an underlying health condition, you are an older woman, you have a history of miscarriages, or some other risk factor, you face special challenges while you are expecting. Making it to the third trimester is cause for celebration. The finish line is in sight and you have a greater chance of carrying your baby full term. Now you need to prepare for the final stretch and know what to expect.

Visits to a High-Risk Obstetrician Increase
Most expectant mothers see their obstetrician once a month until the last month when visits will become monthly. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you will likely be referred to a maternal-fetal specialist (Source: Dr. Gilbert Webb). Expect to make visits to the doctor’s office more often in the last three months as you continue to carry your baby. You and your baby will be monitored closely in anticipation of any complications. The goal is to reach the 36 week mark if at all possible to avoid a premature birth.

Expect Tests and Screenings
As you head into the last stretch of your pregnancy, your obstetrician will request testing to head off any problems that may arise. Expect to be screened for a GBS infection, otherwise known as a group B streptococcus infection. This is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in the vagina for many women without any adverse effects. However, it can cause a life-threatening infection for your baby upon delivery. If the bacteria is present, you will be put on antibiotics when you go into labor to protect your baby. A non-stress test is likely as well. This test is generally performed after you have reached the 26 week period. The doctor will be monitoring your baby’s movements and heart beat in order to gauge response to stimuli. A buzzer may be used if your baby is sleeping or inactive in order to trigger a response. An ultrasound will be performed to check your baby’s development, including the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Ultrasound is used in order to guide your doctor during an amniocentesis procedure. Amniocentesis is common in the third trimester for high-risk pregnancies to ensure your baby’s lungs are developed enough in the event of an early delivery. The doctor can check for infection in the amniotic fluid as well.

Be Prepared for Possible Complications in the Final Stages of Pregnancy
As a mother with a high-risk pregnancy, you may be more likely to develop complications, such as gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that will resolve itself after pregnancy. Ask your doctor about being tested. Preeclampsia is more common at this point as well in which you have a sudden, dramatic spike in blood pressure. If you have a severe headache, problems with your vision, or intense pain in your abdomen, seek medical attention to avoid the risk of stroke and seizures. Your water may break early or you could go into preterm labor. You may also have issues with your placenta, such as previa placenta that causes the placenta to become implanted over the opening of your cervix. Heavy, sudden bleeding is an indicator of this problem. Be sure to see your doctor if this should occur.

A high-risk pregnancy brings many challenges with it. However, making it to the third trimester is reason for hope. Keep your appointments with your obstetrician, follow all instructions to the letter, and take care of yourself. Listen to your body and rest when you need it. Be sure to stay in touch with your doctor if you have any concerns in order to have peace of mind as the end approaches.

 

 

~ Lizzie Weakley ~

 

Thanks Lizzie for this great article!

Third Trimester: Tips to Handle the Home Stretch

The third trimester of pregnancy is a time of both exciting and nerve racking for mom. It can seem to drag on forever, but for some, the last months may seem to go by quickly. Here are some ways to handle this last portion of pregnancy with finesse.

Things to Do for Yourself
During the third trimester, the added weight of your growing baby causes more pressure on the spine, so it’s important to pay attention to your posture. Sit on a chair with a sturdy back, and sleep on your side at night, with a pillow between your legs for greater comfort.
It’s especially important to eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water during this time, which will help with constipation. Many women in their third trimester suffer from heartburn, so stay away from spicy foods. If you do get heartburn, try drinking some ginger tea to relieve it.
You will probably feel more tired at this stage, so take frequent naps when needed. Try to follow a mild exercise program each day, which will help with bodily functions and help you to get a better sleep at night. Frequent urination at night in the third trimester is normal. To keep it to a minimum, try not to drink fluids before you go to bed.
Above all, try to avoid getting stressed out. Although you may still have a regular job or other children to take care of, try to find some time each day to pray or meditate, which will help to alleviate stress.

Things to Do for Your Baby
Your baby can definitely respond to your voice and touches at this stage. Speak softly to your baby, and try massaging it several times during the day. Some expectant mothers find that babies in the womb enjoy certain types of music. Try playing some relaxing music, which will help to soothe both you and your baby.
By now you probably have a birthing program set up and ready to go. Try to spend some of your time in the third trimester learning as much as you can about breastfeeding and recommended ways to take care of new baby. The more you learn, the less concern you will have after baby is born, and the better you will be able to care for it.
The third trimester of pregnancy is a good time to begin searching for a good pediatrician for your baby. Your baby’s first visit to a pediatrician should be soon after he or she is born, so it’s definitely not too early to begin the search. Ask friends or family for references. Choose a doctor who is situated nearby, can accept your health insurance, and has working hours convenient for you.

Things to Do with Your Doctor
You will be having regular visits with your doctor of choice in your third trimester, probably as frequently as once a week. Let your doctor know if you notice anything unusual happening with baby, such as less frequent movement. Dr. Gilbert Webb also suggests you let your doctor know about any unusual changes in your own body, such as bleeding, pain during urination, nausea, or early contractions. Regular visits to your doctor will reassure you that your last trimester is proceeding as normally as possible.
If you have any special medical conditions that could interfere with birthing, your doctor may refer you to a high risk obstetrician or maternal-fetal specialist. It’s important to follow the instructions of these medical experts as closely as possible, to insure a safe delivery.

Third trimester can be a challenging time, but following these guidelines will help make it less of a challenge and more of a joy.

 

 

~ Brooke Chaplan ~