Pregnancy can be described as a journey. It is like a really long road trip and all a woman is focused on is that finish line. That destination that she is aiming for which is the healthy birth of a healthy and happy child. It sure feels like it takes a long time to get there.
During a routine pregnancy, there are many prenatal appointments with an OBGYN or a midwife. It is even more for a woman who has a higher risk pregnancy or is enduring some complications. The appointments start out as once a month and then they slowly increase to every two weeks and then when mom is almost there they are every week. It will start to feel like she lives at the doctor’s office.
These appointments are important there, and proper prenatal care is vital for the health of mom and baby so even if they are a bit annoying and time-consuming, they really shouldn’t be missed or skipped. This is especially true when mom-to-be nears the very end of her pregnancy.
As mom approaches her due date, there are many things that need to be checked by a doctor and they will do this in the last appointment leading up to birth. Since not many know exactly when they are going to give birth this could be at the 39, 40 or 41-week appointment. There are things a doctor is going to want to go over when mom is that close to delivering and here are 20 things that will normally happen.
20 A Downstairs Strep B Result
At some point near the end of a pregnancy, the doctor will administer what is known as a Group Strep B test. This is normally done around the 36th week of pregnancy. Group Strep B is a bacteria that can live in mom’s downstairs area and while it may be harmful for mom, it can have negative effects on the baby. The doctor will do a quick and non-invasive swab test and send it away to be tested.
Strep B is very common, and a lot of women can have it and never know which is why it is so important to get tested for it. If mom is positive, there is no reason to fret as she will just be given antibiotics through labour. This is why it is important to have this information before a woman delivers.
19 A Conversation On #FedIsBest
Mom will notice that as she gets closer to her due date a lot of the conversation at the doctor’s office will be centered around the baby and the care they will receive. A lot of the time there is not much else to talk about when the pregnancy is almost at an end, it is just a waiting game. This means that your doctor may start to discuss with you some options when it comes to caring for your baby.
They may discuss feeding methods with you and whether you are going to breastfeed or bottle feed. If mom is deciding to breastfeed they may be able to help link you with resources which can help the breastfeeding relationship get off on the right foot.
18 You May Talk About Birth Control
A woman is most fertile after she has give birth, and there is a recommended wait time for mom to become intimate again as per her recovery from childbirth. However, your doctor may bring up to you the different options when it comes to birth control. There is likely nothing medically that they can prescribe until you have delivered and recovered but it is always good to get the conversation.
There are a lot of people who want to have children close together, some may even try as soon as they get cleared to try again. However, most medical professionals will agree that this is not the safest thing to do and it is better for mom to give her body time to heal.
17 How To Recognize PPD
Another topic that may come up before the baby even gets here is PPD, or post partum depression. PPD is a very real and common problem that effects a lot of women, and it is something that needs to be treated. Your doctor may discuss with you things to look out for in terms of PPD and how to tell the difference between PPD and the baby blues.
The baby blues are common among moms, and it will typically show up in the weeks following birth and this is due to the hormonal changes that are going on in your body. This feeling of sadness and anxiety does not last long and your doctor will advise you on what to look out for. The sooner mom can get help, the better for everyone.
16 All the Usual Measurements: Scale And Pressure
While there are things that happen at your last appointment that won’t happen at every appointment, there will still be the standard tests run by your doctor. Your OB will still check your weight gain as well as your blood pressure. These are both very important in tracking the health of the pregnancy and trying to watch out for dangerous conditions.
Preeclampsia is a condition that can be very dangerous for mom and the baby and it can happen pretty quickly and with no warning as the pregnancy nears the end. Blood pressure is usually the first indicator that something may be wrong so it is important that your doctor keeps an eye on it.
15 Check Baby’s Growth (It Can Impact Delivery)
The doctor will probably always check your fundal height, which is a measurement taken on the outside of your abdomen which determines your uterine size, which will become more important as you near the end of your due date. This is always an estimation, but it could indicate to the doctor that your baby is bigger (or smaller) than they should be measuring.
If your doctor thinks your baby is measuring big, they may send you for an ultrasound to double check the growth of the baby. The size of the baby can have an impact on delivery so it is important that everyone knows what they are working with.
14 Checking The Baby's Heart Rate Is Standard
Another standard thing that will happen at every appointment is that they will check the baby’s heart beat. This is one of the best moments as mom will never be able to get enough of their little one’s heart beating away. It always makes all these appointments worth it. It is important that this is checked as a woman gets closer to her due date to make sure the baby is happy and healthy.
As your due date approaches, the baby is running out of room as each day goes by. This may cause your baby to fall into a state of stress, because they are just as uncomfortable as you are. The heart rate is one way to tell if something is not right and if medical interventions are necessary.
13 Talk About Movements
One other thing your doctor will ask about is how often your baby is moving. As you get further along in your pregnancy, fetal movements can tell mom a lot about the health and well-being of her little one. Mom’s are advised to do kick counts, and if she ever notices a decrease to get checked right away as this could mean something is wrong.
It is important to be in tune with your baby’s movements because they will change as mom gets closer and closer to her due date. Mom will feel less and less kicks and punches, and she will feel more and more rolls and stretches. They also won’t be as frequent simply because the baby is running out of room, it is important to always get to know your baby’s pattern so you can determine if something is wrong.
12 May Ask For A Sample!
It used to be standard practice that a woman would leave a urine sample at each and every visit to her OB. This is changing, and in some places, there is now no need to do this unless the doctor has reason to feel you should leave one. The reason you give a urine sample is so that the doctor can test it for protein levels.
Protein levels will help them determine if you are at risk for preeclampsia. If your blood pressure is reading a little high, or you are very near the end, your doctor may ask for this sample to just be on the safe side. It is always better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to preeclampsia.
11 After Birth ‘Mess’
Since this is your last appointment before the big event, the conversation may get a little personal and gross. Your doctor is probably going to want to talk to you about some of the details that are involved in recovering from childbirth. This may not be the most comfortable of conversations, but it is always better to be prepared than arrive unexpected.
Your doctor may want to talk to you about something called Lochia. Lochia is what they call the discharge that a woman experiences following birth. They will tell you what to expect and how long. Every woman’s recovery is slightly different, but there are general things to look out for. Your doctor will also tell you warning signs to watch out for in case you need to get checked for excessive bleeding.
10 Recovery Details Part One: What To Expect From Natural Birth
There are two ways a baby can enter this world, either through a natural birth or a C-section. Both have their own pros and cons, but they have very different recovery instructions. There is a chance your doctor will go over some aspects of the recovery from a natural birth.
They will go over what a mom can expect and for how long. They will also go over any and all tips and tricks to help you get through it all. Most of your actual recovery information will come from the nurses in the hospital, but it is always a good idea to have some sort of warning on what is to come. It can help mom’s feel more in control knowing what to expect and how to cope.
9 Recovery Details Part Two: What To Expect After A C-Section
On the other side of the coin there is always a possibility of mom needing a C-section. Not a lot of people want or look forward to having a C-section, but this medical procedure has saved the lives of countless moms and their babies. A lot of the time a mom will already know if she is potentially facing a C-section delivery, especially if her baby is breech. A lot of the time they still come as a surprise.
Your doctor may go over what will happen should mom find herself needing a C-section. A C-section is a major surgery and there will be an incision site that needs to be taken care of and a whole bunch of pain relief medications.
8 When The Doc Will See You Again!
It is quite normal that the doctor will inform mom at the end of every appointment when they will need to see her again. When it comes to the last appointment, some mom’s may think that this is the last time they will need to see the OBGYN. This is not true. Most OB’s will want to see mom about 6-8 weeks after the birth of the baby.
They will want to check and make sure everything is healing nicely and that there are no complications left over from birth. This is also when they will give mom clearance to engage in all regular activities and this is also when they discuss birth control options with you in more detail.
7 What You Should Ask Your Doctor!
It is important at the last doctor’s appointment to not let your doctor do all the talking. It is important that you speak up and ask any and all questions you have. It is normal for a woman to feel anxious as she is leading up to her due date and the only way to try and calm all of these fears down is to ask questions.
As all details about labour and pain relief. When can you get pain relief, and does it work? Ask anything you can think of regarding childbirth and your doctor should be very open and willing to answer all of the questions you have.
6 Discuss Birth Plan
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to go over your birth plan with your doctor. A birth plan is not necessary, but a lot of women feel much calmer knowing they have their wishes written down prior to going into labour. It can help them feel more in control which is essential to any mom experiencing this for the first time.
The doctor will probably tell you that a birth plan is good and useful, but to be wary. There are a lot of instances that can come up that can render a birth plan useless. A birth plan is never a definite and there is always a chance that circumstances can change and emergencies can arise meaning a birth plan may not be able to be followed.
5 Check That Dilation (Even If You're Not In Labor Yet)
As you near the end of your pregnancy, your doctor may decide it is time to start checking your cervix. Every doctor is different, and some will start checking this earlier than other and for various reasons. If you are at your last appointment, there is a good chance that the doctor will check your cervix to see if you are dilated at all.
This could give them a good idea of when labour is approaching. If mom has reached her due date and she is not dilated or thinned out at all it may mean that she has a far bit to go and there may be discussion of a possible induction.
4 Strip The Membranes: Clear The Path For The Baby
Along with checking for dilation, the doctor may also want to do a procedure called a membrane sweep, or a stretch and sweep. This is a natural way of trying to induce labour, though it is not a guarantee that it will work it often has women going into labour in the next few days. This is not normally a painful procedure, though it may be a little uncomfortable.
The doctor will insert a finger into the cervix and will sweep it across to try and detach the membranes. This normally will help induce labour, and they may even break your water while they are doing it. It is not something that is normally done until a woman has reached full term to avoid inducing pre-term labour.
3 Induction Conversation: Get That Baby Out!
If this appointment is happening on or after your due date, your doctor may have a discussion with you about possible induction. Most do not want to go through with an induction unless medically necessary, and the general consensus is that it is always better to let babies come on their own time. Doctors agree with this as well, but there are always circumstances that call for it.
There reaches a point in a pregnancy where the placenta will stop working. It has done its job and it is no longer needed. However, if the baby is still inside it can be dangerous as the baby relies on the placenta while the baby is still inside. If mom reaches two weeks past her due date the chances of a medical induction will be very high.
2 What To Look For
Since this is your last appointment for the big day, it is important that your doctor goes over with you what to look out for when it comes to labour. First-time moms can be quite confused because they have never experienced a contraction, so they are unclear what they feel like. Every woman experiences labour and contractions differently, so it is no use asking your friends for advice.
The doctor will advise you of what kind of pain you want to watch out for. He will also advise you on other not so known symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and back pain. These are all symptoms of labour to watch out for.
1 When To Head To The Hospital!
Along with the signs of labour to watch out for, they will always advise you on when you need to head to the hospital. If your water breaks, the advice will likely be that you need to head to the hospital right away. If you are having contractions than you have some time before you head in. If you go into the hospital too early, they will send you back home and it is best to avoid that.
The general rule of thumb is when your contractions are 5 minutes about, lasting a minute for an entire hour. This is what you want to watch out for and this is why it is so important to time your contractions. It is also always best to call ahead, and the nurses can advise you on if they think you should come on.