The third trimester is when things really start to feel real for most mommies-to-be. At least, that is when things started to feel more real to me. As a first time mom, I found some solace in mommy forums, the online community for the pregnancy app I have been using on my phone to track my symptoms, and of course my sister and best friend who have both been through it.
In the third trimester, your doctors appointments go from being every four weeks, to every two weeks, right down to every week. Once you hit the once a week mark, you think to yourself that there is going to be this constant flow of new information. This is the time you are going to learn about going into labour, what all these new and at times unbearable symptoms mean, and just how close you are to holding your baby in your arms.
The routine of your doctor’s appointment I think really depends on a few things. Of course a lot of what goes on in that room is based specifically on your doctor and how they like to do things, but it can also differ based on region and where you are in the world. One of the big factors is your health through your pregnancy so far and whether or not you are considered a ‘High-Risk’ or a ‘Low-Risk’ pregnancy.
What I have learned so far is that being in the lower risk means there will be a lot less tests, a little bit less information being given to you, and less of a chance to actually see how your baby is doing in there throughout your pregnancy. A lot of doctors will just smile at you and tell you everything is good without giving you any specifics because the truth of the matter is they see pregnancies like yours every day and they don’t realize how frustrating and annoying it is to not know certain things, especially as a first time mom.
You will get three ultrasounds in a low risk pregnancy here in Ontario, Canada. One in your first trimester just to be sure all is good. Here they will check to be sure it’s a healthy, viable pregnancy and not ectopic. You will get an abnormality scan somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant. Here they will do all the measurements, and let you know if there is something developmentally wrong (physically) with your baby. And for some (not everyone, and this is dependant on doctor) you may get a third ultrasound in your third trimester to check growth, however this is not standard and you will have to ask about it.
Since I got pregnant, I have gone for blood work about five times. I am anemic so they have wanted to keep an eye on my iron levels, and then there are of course all the other fun things they want to check out while you are pregnant. I will say, that before getting pregnant I didn’t know a lot about myself, like my blood type and all these other things, so I guess it is good I finally know that now.
Then of course there are other types of test you take, you take the glucose test, which is absolutely gross and I didn’t care for. If you pass, you don’t have to do it again, but if your levels are bordering, they will make you do it twice more. There is a stress-test as well, but this is something they tend to do with the ‘High-Risk’ pregnancies. I didn’t have to do a stress test as my blood pressure was pretty much always good and I had no symptoms that made them believe I needed one.
As a healthy pregnant woman, I felt like a lot of my appointments were going into the room, getting my blood pressure taken, having my fundal height measured, which is just measuring your stomach to see how your baby’s growth is coming along. (Your fundal height measurement through pregnancy should be the same amount of cms as your weeks pregnant or one cm more.) Then we would listen to baby’s heart to make sure all was good, she would ask me if I had any questions and off I went.
As a first time mom, I have to say that especially in my third trimester when I am hauling my butt to appointments every week, everything is swollen, I am miserable and struggling to squeeze into clothes that no longer fit as the end draws near, I left most of my appointments frustrated.
Well, because from what I could tell a lot of other mommies were getting internal exams done from about 36 weeks and I am strolling into my 39 week appointment practically begging for her to look under the hood.
I think if you haven’t done this before, and you don’t know what to expect from your upcoming labour, what you want more than anything is information and someone to tell you how you are doing. Knowing that you are dilated, or not dilated helps you mentally prepare for what is coming. It also takes some of the edge off of thinking that this could happen at any moment.
This close to the end, I think it would just help to know that the end is actually near. Having her just smile at me and say it could be any time now is not really comforting. I know the math, I know how long this is supposed to take. What I don’t know is whether I am actually close to delivering or not. What I don’t know is if my body has already started to prepare or if I am going to have to buckle in and wait it out for another couple of weeks (God, I hope not!)
If you are like me, and have had no issues through your pregnancy, at this point you are probably pulling your hair out. I haven’t seen my baby since my ultrasound at 20 weeks. Sure, I hear her heartbeat every week and feel her squirming around in there, but in the back of your mind there are still this laundry list of worries that you feel can’t be addressed until baby is here and that is super stressful. Add that to the constant discomfort, and you are a ticking time-bomb that is better off staying inside, watching Disney movies and eating bowls of cereal from that spot on the couch that now has your ass-groove permanently dented into it.
At 39 weeks with just one week to go (fingers crossed) I am hoping at this point that I don’t make it to my doctor’s appointment on Monday and the next time I am seeing a doctor it will be the one with their head between my legs telling me to PUSH!