Checkups and Tests - Third Trimester
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Checkups and Tests: Third Trimester
Street test (optional)
Again, a fetal monitor evaluates the baby's heart rate, this time in response to contractions that are stimulated either by a small intravenous dose of Pitocin (a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin) or by having the woman rub her nipples to trigger the release of natural oxytocin. It's also called a contraction stress test.
Nonstress test (optional)
A fetal monitor is used to determine whether the fetal heart rate increases as the fetus moves, which is a good sign. It's typically used for overdue babies.
A sonogram can determine fetal position if the doctor can't tell manually If a doctor is concerned about the baby's well-being, ultrasound may also be used at this point in pregnancy to see if the baby is growing properly, is moving and breathing adequately, and is surrounded by adequate amniotic fluid. Called a biophysical profile, this thorough work-up is reserved for overdue babies and cases where the baby does not seem to be moving much or when growth problems are suspected. An external electronic fetal monitor (which is strapped around the mother's belly to detect the baby's heartbeat) and other tools are used.
Group B strep (routine)
This new test, in which sample cells are taken from the rectum, vagina, or cervix (or all three) and then cultured, screens for Group B streptococcal (GBS) bacteria. GBS is present in up to 30 percent of all healthy women, where it's usually harmless to them. But it's the leading cause of life-threatening infections in newborns, who can be exposed to it during delivery. GBS can result in mental retardation, impaired vision, and hearing loss in newborns. The screening, which has greatly reduced the prevalence of the infection, is done between 35 and 37 weeks. Those who test positive are treated with antibiotics during delivery, protecting the baby