As you enter your third semester, both you and your baby are growing at a rapid rate. Your baby's lungs are maturing, she's gaining weight and she's growing to a length that may reach around 21 inches. With your due date on the horizon, it's time to finalize plans for your baby's birth and to get your home ready.
Even though you've been poked and prodded throughout your pregnancy, the third trimester calls for additional testing in preparation for the birth. Early on in you third trimester — between 24 and 28 weeks — you'll have a glucose screening to check for gestational diabetes. Your doctor will also order a group B streptococcus test somewhere between weeks 35 and 37. Women who carry this bacterium may need to take antibiotics during labor to prevent infecting their infants.
Your Baby's Movement
By the time that you reach between 37 and 40 weeks, you may notice a slowdown in your baby's movement. If your baby starts slowing down or stops moving, your doctor may order a nonstress test. This test measures the baby's heart rate in response to his movements. A nurse will strap a monitor around your belly and possibly use a noisy buzzer to wake your baby and get him moving.
Prep the Nursery
While you'll have nine months in total to prepare for your baby, the third trimester is the home stretch. During these last three months of pregnancy, you need to make sure that your home is ready for the baby. You need to furnish the nursery with a crib, a changing table and a dresser. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a crib model that has less than 2 3/8 inches between slats and no cutouts on the head or foot boards, with a snug-fitting mattress. Stock up on diapers, wipes, hygiene products such as gentle shampoo, clothing, bedding and bottles if you aren't breastfeeding.
During your third trimester, make a plan for labor and delivery. This may include taking a prepared childbirth class such as Lamaze. A Lamaze class will provide you with information on your childbirth options and techniques for relaxation during delivery, and give you the facts on what to expect during labor. Depending on your beliefs, how your pregnancy is progressing and what your medical professional recommends, you can choose where you want to have your baby, who will deliver your child, who will be in the delivery room with you and what you want to do for pain management.