Third-Trimester Exams and Tests

Third-Trimester Exams and Tests

Topic Overview

Routine exams and tests

At each prenatal visit, you
can expect to be weighed and have your urine and blood pressure checked. Your
health professional will monitor your fetus's growth and position by measuring
the size of your uterus (fundal height) and feeling (palpating) your abdomen.

If your fetus is not in the head-down (vertex) position after 36
weeks (as confirmed by
fetal ultrasound), your health professional may try to
turn it gently from the outside (version). Version carries some risks, and not
all health professionals are skilled in this technique. For more information,
see the topic Breech Position and Breech Birth.

Late in your
pregnancy, your health professional:

  • Is likely to check you for
    group B streptococcus, which can cause severe newborn
    illness, disability, or death. This is done by rubbing the vaginal and rectal
    areas with a cotton swab. If you test positive for group B strep, you will be treated with antibiotics during
  • Will check to see how far the baby's head has dropped into
    your pelvis. Close to delivery, you may be checked to see whether your cervix
    has begun to stretch and open (cervical effacement and dilatation).
  • May check you for
    hepatitis B. If you test positive for hepatitis B
    infection, your baby will receive the hepatitis vaccine and hepatitis B
    immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth.

Additional testing

Experts recommend that all pregnant women be screened for depression during their pregnancy. Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn that you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your doctor right away. Not treating depression can cause problems during pregnancy and birth.

To find out if you are depressed, your health care provider will ask you questions about your health and your feelings.

Later in pregnancy, your health professional may recommend an amniocentesis if there is a concern about infection in the
amniotic fluid. Or the test may be done to check your baby for certain types of infections or other rare problems.

Related Information


Other Works Consulted

  • Siu AL, et al. (2016). Screening for depression in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA, 315(4): 380–387. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.18392. Accessed February 7, 2018.


ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofFebruary 16, 2018

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