Check the baby's position
Near the end of pregnancy, your health care provider will estimate the baby's weight and check to see if your baby is positioned headfirst in the uterus. You might also have an ultrasound to confirm the baby's position and determine the level of amniotic fluid around the baby.
If your baby is positioned rump-first (frank breech) or feet-first (complete breech), it's possible that he or she could still turn headfirst before you give birth. However, your health care provider might try to turn the baby to improve the chances of a vaginal birth. To do so, your health care provider will apply pressure to your abdomen (external cephalic version). If your baby remains in a breech position, you might need a C-section delivery.
Detect cervical changes
As your due date approaches, your health care provider might do a pelvic exam to detect cervical changes. As your body prepares for birth, your cervix will begin to soften, open (dilate) and thin (efface). Progress is typically expressed in centimeters (cm) and percentages. For example, your cervix might be 3 centimeters dilated and 30 percent effaced. When you're ready to push your baby out, your cervix will be 10 centimeters dilated and 100 percent effaced.
Keep asking questions
You will likely have plenty of questions as your due date approaches. Is it OK to have sex? How will I know when I'm in labor? What's the best way to manage the pain? Should I create a birth plan? Ask away! Feeling prepared can help calm your nerves before delivery.
Also, be sure to discuss symptoms that should cause you to call your health care provider, such as vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking from the vagina, as well as when and how to contact your health care provider once labor begins.
July 30, 2015
See more In-depth
- Lockwood CJ, et al. The initial prenatal assessment and routine prenatal care. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 9, 2015.
- Prenatal care and tests. Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/prenatal-care-tests.html. Accessed July 9, 2015.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Prenatal care. In: Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed July 9, 2015.
- You and your baby: Prenatal Care, Labor and Delivery, and Postpartum Care. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2014:1.
- Lockwood CJ, et al. Prenatal care (second and third trimesters). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 9, 2015.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010.
- Hofmeyr GJ. External cephalic version. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 10, 2015.