You've been pregnant for more than nine months and, chances are, you're more than ready to get this show on the road. (By "show," I mean your baby and the "road" is your birth canal, obviously). As your pregnancy moves along, you'll hear more talk about the signs baby has engaged and, since you're almost there, you're probably wondering what exactly that means.
According to Baby Center, your baby engages, or drops, as your body prepares to give birth. It simply means that your baby has lowered deeper into your pelvis and is in a position to enter the birth canal once your labor begins. It is an exciting phase simply for the fact that it signifies that your body is doing exactly what it should be doing and that, soon, you'll have your little one in your arms.
Although your doctor will definitely let you know when your baby has engaged, being able to recognize the signs on your own can help shed some light on what is happening inside your body as it prepares to labor. The Dr. Sears website noted that, typically, engagement happens in the last two weeks of pregnancy. Although the signs aren't completely universal, these subtle changes in your body all mean that you're one step closer to meeting your baby at long last.
1. You Can Suddenly Breathe Easier
Healthline noted that women feel a decreased pressure on their lungs once their baby engages. This, of course, takes away some of the difficulty breathing they were probably experiencing for months beforehand.
2. You Notice Pain Or Pressure On Your Pelvis
As the pressure leaves your upper abdomen, it travels down into your pelvis and most women report feeling increased pelvic pressure and maybe some pain once their baby engages. The aforementioned article from the Dr. Sears website noted that you might even be able to "sense" your baby's head resting beneath the middle of your pelvic bone.
3. You Have An Increase In Vaginal Discharge
According to New Health Advisor, many women lose their mucus plug one their baby engages. It can happen all at once, but more commonly it's a consistent and heavier flow of discharge leading up to labor.
4. You Need To Pee Even More Often
Just when you thought you had the whole peeing-every-t10-seconds situation under control, you'll suddenly have to urinate all the time. The aforementioned Healthline article noted that the increased pressure on your bladder causes you to urinate much more frequently.
5. Your Bump Might Look Different
As your baby lowers, the shape of your bump will lower right along with it. You might notice that your breasts have more "room to breathe" between your belly, or perhaps your belly just looks lower. The aforementioned piece from New Health Advisor noted that the shape of your bump is one of the most obvious ways to tell if your baby has in fact engaged or not.
6. You Experience Less Heartburn
According to What to Expect, you might experience less heartburn and acid reflux as your baby descends lower into your pelvis. Although not all women report this to be true, some notice a sudden relief once their baby has engaged.