About your Third Trimester (over 26 weeks)
The third trimester runs from 26 weeks to the end of the pregnancy. During this time the baby’s movements are usually clearly felt and you should learn to recognise the unique pattern for your baby. If at any time there is a change in the pattern of movements you should contact your maternity healthcare provider immediately.
Some things to consider in your third trimester:
Wellbeing Scans (over 24 weeks)
Wellbeing scans from 24 weeks will assess fetal size, fetal wellbeing and factors such as the amniotic fluid volume and the blood flow through the placenta (umbilical artery doppler). Regular scheduled scans also allow the chance to follow the rate of growth (growth velocity) as this is more important than just measuring size alone. A small baby that is growing normally should be healthy whereas a big baby whose growth has slowed may be in difficulties and at risk. Babies who are significantly compromised or at risk of stillbirth may need close surveillance and possibly early delivery.
4D Baby Bonding Scans
Modern ultrasound scanners show moving 3D images (4D scan) so you can see the appearance and facial expressions of your baby smiling, sucking, yawning and so on whilst still in the womb. These images can be shared with your family and friends and recorded as colour prints, video clips on DVDs and uploaded to iBabyscan (a personal cloud based store which allows easy sharing on social media). At every 4D scan, we always undertake a full Wellbeing Scan to ensure baby is healthy and give you the choice of checking if baby is a little boy or girl.
Birth Plan Scan (at 36 weeks)
If you’re planning a vaginal birth, it’s vital to know that baby is head first (cephalic or vertex) and with no signs of compromise (appropriately grown). Measuring the bump misses half of small for dates babies and a third of those that are breech. A well-being scan at 36 weeks should identify most small or compromised babies who do not tolerate labour well and identify all babies that are breech. You’ll then have time to talk to your healthcare professional and decide what happens next. If the baby is breech and otherwise healthy this gives you the opportunity to have an external cephalic version (ECV) to turn the baby to head first to allow a safe vaginal delivery. If the baby is compromised, then a Caesarean Section may be the way forward.
Group B Strep Screening
About 1 in 6 pregnant women carry a bacteria called Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in their bowel and vagina. Whilst this is usually harmless to the pregnancy before birth it can be picked up by the baby after the waters break or during a vaginal birth. About 50 babies a year in the UK die from Group B Strep and about 100 babies a year are permanently damaged.
Most women who carry GBS are unaware of it and the risk it may pose to their baby. In the UK, NICE advise that all pregnant women who are known to be carrying GBS should be offered intravenous antibiotics (e.g. Penicillin) to reduce the risk of infection in the baby. Here at Innermost, we’re proud to be listed as one of the UK GBS Screening Provider Clinics. We support the work of the Group B Strep Support charity in advising ALL women planning a vaginal birth to be offered screening via a Rectovaginal Swab at 36 weeks.