Lightning Pregnancy - When Do Babies Drop While Pregnant?

Baby Dropping – When Does It Happen and What Should You Do?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Pregnancy is a time when your body goes through a whole lot of changes. It can be confusing and make you anxious, especially if it is your first time. As the end of your pregnancy approaches, your body starts to prepare itself for labour and delivery. Baby dropping is one of the signs that the time is fast approaching. There are some more signs to watch out for also, and knowing them will help you prepare yourself better. This article is highly recommended to those who are nearing their due date. Here we will talk about the phenomenon called baby dropping, ways for you to cope with it, etc.

Why Do Babies Drop?

When somebody mentions baby dropping, it might scare you. But it actually means ‘Lightening’. Lightening is the term used for baby dropping, which is a sign of the labour approaching. As the labour approaches, the baby drops into the pelvis in an effort to get into the best position within the uterus to pass easily through the birth canal. This helps stretch your pelvic muscles ahead of labour.

When Are Babies More Likely to Drop?

Baby dropping or lightening during pregnancy can happen anytime between 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy in first-time pregnancies. In later pregnancies, the baby might not drop until labour has started. If you are wondering whether it can be predicted in which week the baby would drop, you must understand that it is not accurate science. There are no strict timelines as to when this might occur, and in some instances, it might be prior to four weeks before the labour starts.

When Are Babies More Likely to Drop?

Signs of Lightening in Pregnancy

Each case of pregnancy is unique; the time of lightening and the signs that may accompany it will vary. However, if you are wondering what it feels like when the baby drops, the indications given below will help you identify it:

1. Frequent Urination

The pressure is likely to move to your lower abdomen from the upper part, especially on the bladder. As the baby’s head lowers on your bladder, it results in more pressure on it. So, your trips to the bathroom will be more.

2. It Becomes Easier to Breathe

As the baby drops into your pelvis, the pressure on your diaphragm lessens. The shortness of breath that you had been experiencing earlier will no more be an issue once the baby drops. Breathing process will soon be back to normal again.

3. Improved Appetite

When the baby drops, the pressure on the stomach is also eased significantly. This means that you will be able to eat more than you did at the beginning of the third trimester.

Improved Appetite

4. The Baby Bump Changes

After your baby’s head moves into the pelvis, it is likely to seem as if your stomach is hanging lower. When you sit down, you will be able to feel the baby more.

5. Frequent Lower Back Pain

When the baby starts to get heavier and slides down your abdomen, finally settling in the pelvis, you will experience lower back pain more frequently.

6. A Changed Walk

The pressure on the pelvis increases as the baby drops. It changes your walk as well, and you might feel though you are waddling.

7. Haemorrhoids

The pressure could affect the blood vessels in the rectum which may lead to haemorrhoids.

Though these signs of baby dropping during pregnancy tell you that your delivery is approaching, these are not clear-cut indicators of exactly when the labour would start.

If you are only 35 weeks pregnant and are experiencing symptoms of baby dropping, you need not worry about it. Sometimes, expectant mothers do not experience baby dropping even when it is time. We recommend that you check with your obstetrician to confirm if the pregnancy is progressing normally. If you’ve already had your obstetrician confirm a healthy pregnancy, you may want to talk about the points given below and implement them if they are safe for you to do.

What Should You Do If You Don’t Experience Baby Dropping?

If you are nearing your due date and don’t see any signs of baby dropping, there are a few things that you could try. But these should be done only after at least 36 weeks of pregnancy and post you have consulted your obstetrician.

1. Increase Physical Activity

Don’t do anything too strenuous, but increasing the number of walks each day can make the baby move and pressurise the cervix. Watch out for Braxton-Hicks or false labour contractions though which are sometimes triggered by walking.

2. Mind How You Sit

Do not sit cross-legged as it can push the baby back up. Instead, you can sit with your knees spread open and lean forward to coax the baby to move down.

3. Try a Birthing Ball

Using a birthing ball can give you some relief from back pain while assisting the baby to move into the pelvis. It can also increase blood flow to the baby.

Try a Birthing Ball

4. Do Some Squats

Doing squats can help widen your pelvic opening and ease the baby downwards while strengthening your legs and hips for delivery. Ensure you do them only after medical advice and avoid them if you have not been exercising during your pregnancy.

6. Try Swimming

Use the backstroke for swimming with your belly up or simply float on your back. If you have pelvic pain, don’t do breaststrokes.

7. Avoid Sitting for Long

If your job involves sitting on a chair for a long period of time, be sure to take frequent breaks during work hours. You could just stretch your legs a bit every hour or so to encourage the baby to drop.

If your baby has dropped, be sure to visit your obstetrician for a check-up. This will help her determine the due date accordingly and give you a tentative estimation of when labour is likely to start. After baby dropping, it is just a matter of days before you get to take your little one in your arms.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Also Read: Signs of a Healthy and Unhealthy Baby in the Womb

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