How Do You Know When Your Baby Drops?

What does it feel like when your baby drops? It`s said that you need to prepare for birth when your “baby drops” or “belly falls.” But do all pregnant women feel the same?

How Do You Know When Your Baby Drops

How Do You Know When Your Baby Drops?

For mothers who are at their first birth, around 2 to 4 weeks before delivery (however, it may happen earlier as well), the fetus changes his position and turns with his head down to the pelvis. This is known as lightening or dropping. You`ll feel a little physical comfort and that you can breathe better, but the sensation of pressure in the cervix may cause the need to urinate more often, reduce mobility, loss of balance and even the discomfort of swollen legs. Lightening isn`t a good predictor in terms of the onset of labor.

Since it`s not that much pressure on the lungs, you`ll find it easier to breathe and you`ll feel a lot more pelvis pressure. You`ll also feel the need to pee quite often. You`ll even notice your tummy look lower than usual, and sometimes you may feel your baby will simply fall out.

If the baby is in the anterior position, you are likely to feel some movements under the ribs and your belly button might pup out as well. If the baby`s is with his head down and his back against your back, you`ll feel him kicking straight in the front of your tummy, usually around your belly`s middle.

After the baby drops, you might be able to notice a change of shape in your abdomen. This isn`t often the cause, but if you pay attention, you may just “catch” this wonderful moment that your baby shares with you. You might also notice that you can now breathe more easily and you don`t experience heartburn so often as before.

What Does It Mean when the Baby is 2/5 Engaged?

If you aren`t really sure if the baby has engaged or not, you can talk to your midwife about it at the next appointment. She`ll gently press the lower part of your belly and she`ll be able to notice how far the baby has dropped into the pelvis.

The midwife will then note how many 5th`s of the little one`s head she`s able to feel above the pelvis`s edge. So 5/5 and 4/5 in these notes will mean that the baby has not dropped yet, while 3/5, 2/5 or even less will mean that the little one has engaged. The midwife might write “NE,” “free” or “NEng” for “not engaged,” or “Eng” or “E” for “engaged.”

What Does It Mean when You Get Lightning Crotch?

More commonly known as fanny daggers, lightening crotch is a nickname which was given to a sudden pain in the vaginal area. Lightning pain is generally caused by pressure as well as the baby`s position as they drop to get ready for birth. Most commonly, it`s only pressure on the nerve endings around the pelvis area, or the pressure of the head of the baby on the cervix. Most of the times the severity will vary, but many women claim is relatively painful – a feeling similar to being “punched in the crotch.”

Although there is no medical proof, other causes may involve:

  • The baby changes his position – If the baby turns to the birth position, it`s quite common to feel a sudden pain when he turns.
  • Cervical dilation – Unfortunately, there`s almost no evidence to back up this cause, although this is quite a common one.
  • Round ligament pain – This is one of a few thick ligaments which surrounds as well as support the uterus while expecting. While pregnant, your expanding uterus can cause a lot of pressure, so it may cause some pain while it stretches too far beyond the normal limit.
  • Baby stretching – On occasion, when the baby is active, he stretches in such a way that will put some additional pressure on the mother`s body, which may lead to some pain.
  • Magnesium deficiency – Most pregnant women suffer of magnesium deficiency, which may lead to morning sickness, cramps, muscle pain, preeclampsia or sciatica.
  • Nerve pain – Occasionally, baby may sit on a nerve, which in turn leads to pain.


Generally, the head of the baby will be the one entering first the pelvis, but sometimes the shoulder or feet can come first as well. – More info!

During the last month of pregnancy, the doctor will be the one estimating how far the head of the baby has engaged the pelvis. This is usually measures in “stations.” A baby will be at “-3 station” if his head will be above the pelvis and at “0 station” if his head is fully engaged, meaning of the bottom of the pelvis. At “+3 station” is when the baby`s head starts to emerge the birth canal.

4 Signs Your Baby Is Dropping

  • Frequent Urination – Now, your baby has his head pretty close to your bladder, which means more pressure on it. In turn, this will lead to frequent walks to the bathroom.
  • Diarrhea – Your birth hormones will act on your intestines by offering you signs that labor is right around the corner. This might lead to abdominal pain, bowel movements. The nature will “try” to empty your intestines to make room for the baby to pass.
  • Increased Appetite – A sign that is not so obvious when your baby is dropping is your increased appetite. According to most physicians out there, a lot of pregnant women find it rather difficult to eat complete meals during the last trimester of pregnancy. While your lungs are already relieved, there`ll also be less pressure on the stomach. As the baby drops, there may be less frequency and severity of heartburn as well.
  • Breathing Easy – Most experts claim that as the baby settles deeper and deeper into the pelvis you will notice that it`s easier to breathe. During the last trimester of pregnancy, a lot of women will experience a shortness of breath. Before the baby drops, he nestles right under the rib cage of his mother. As soon as the baby is dropping into the pelvic area, the pressure on the mother`s lungs will be relieved, allowing the mother to breathe a lot easier.
  • BraxtonHicks Contractions Are Stronger – Among the clear symptoms that labor will soon come are these contractions that sometimes are a bit uncomfortable. Even if they aren`t as strong as real contractions, they are still strong enough to start thinning the cervix.
  • Water Breaking – Only 1 out of 10 mothers experience water breaking before labor. Most mothers don`t go through this process until they enter well into labor. If you are one of those mothers who experience water breaking before labor, take into consideration that your labor will be more intense during the few hours.

How Long Does It Take to Got into Labor after Baby Is Head Down?

There`s no one that can predict exactly when labor starts. The due date you receive from your doctor will only offer you a point of reference for guidance what to expect. It`s completely normal for labor to begin as early as 3 weeks before the due date or as late as 2 weeks after that date.

Lightening – This happens when the head of the baby drops down into the pelvis when he prepares for birth. The belly might look lower and you might breathe more easily as your lungs are no longer crowded by the baby. You might feel the need to urinate increasingly as well, as the baby is putting pressure on the bladder. This may happen either a few hours or weeks from the beginning of labor.

How Do I Get my Baby to Drop?

Squats can help widen the pelvis`s opening. It can help your little one tumble down your pelvis as well. This type of exercises can also open hips and strengthen your legs. While doing them, don`t over-do it if it`s the first time you are doing physical exercises during pregnancy. You can also use a wall for balancing yourself or other additional support. Birthing balls are also great options if you want to avoid any injuries.

Pelvic tilts during pregnancy are also great. It`s not an exercise that that will put your body to too much pressure, and it may also encourage your baby to drop into the pelvis on its own.

Image courtesy of raisingchildren.net.au

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