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Third Trimester Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy is broadly divided into 3 phases of 3 months each, known as trimesters. The last stage of this 40-week duration, commonly known as the third trimester, starts in the 27th week and ends with the child’s birth. Usually, it is considered the most crucial period of the entire pregnancy in terms of fetal growth. Apart from this, this is also when a pregnant woman goes through a lot of physical changes.

During this trimester, the fetus gains a good amount of weight, and organs like the lungs also continue to mature. Other than this, the fetus also starts moving to position itself head-down. Due to the rapid fetal growth, the expectant mother’s uterus also increases in size, leading to some discomfort. At this time, she may experience things like shortness of breath, urinary incontinence, sleeping problems, etc.

Importance of Third Trimester Screening

As the pregnancy approaches its end, it is more important to make regular prenatal visits, as it helps the doctor obtain essential information about the overall health of the baby and mother. The doctor may also prescribe a few tests during the third trimester of pregnancy. Apart from some blood tests suggested during the third trimester of pregnancy, a few scans are also performed. These scans are required to determine if there are any issues with fetal growth or any complications in the pregnancy.

However, the tests suggested in the third trimester of pregnancy can vary from one pregnant woman to another. The doctor will analyze the current health condition and then prescribe the required tests accordingly.

What Does the Third Trimester Screening Include?

Here are some of the most common third trimester tests that are advised to every pregnant female:

ESR Test: Also known as the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Test, ESR is performed in the third trimester of pregnancy. This is a simple blood test performed to check if there is some kind of inflammation in the body. When combined with other tests, it can help diagnose a number of pregnancy-related complications, including preterm labour, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc.

D-Dimer Test: Another common test suggested in pregnancy 3rd trimester is D-Dimer. Usually, pregnant females are known to have elevated levels of D-dimer. But if these levels are abnormally high, then this may increase the chances of several complications, such as preterm labour, low birth weight, etc.

CBC Test: A CBC, or complete blood profile, is a test that is suggested multiple times at different stages of pregnancy. The haemoglobin levels of a pregnant woman start dropping as the pregnancy progresses. So, mainly, this test is performed during the third trimester of pregnancy to check the haemoglobin levels.

Glucose Screening: This is another blood test that helps with the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. This is a temporary form of diabetes that can cause several issues for the fetus.

Group B Strep Test: Performed around the 36th week, this test helps in detecting the presence of GBS bacteria. These bacteria are usually found in the rectum or vagina of a pregnant female and can prove to be dangerous if transmitted to the baby during birth.

Results & Next Steps

The reports for most tests and scans are made available within 24 hours. Since the normal range of a few tests can vary from one individual to another, it is best to consult the doctor as soon as the reports have been received. The obstetrician will take factors such as age, health condition, family medical history, etc. into consideration and perform a diagnosis. After that, the doctor may also suggest a few other tests or some kind of medication, if required.

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