As you near the end of your pregnancy, you're likely dissecting every tiny symptom, wondering if it's a sign of impending labor. The last few weeks of pregnancy can be the hardest for some women, as discomfort, exhaustion and anxiety is at its highest, and ability to sleep and relax is at its lowest. Though there are can be many signs that labor is starting, some are definitely more telling than others, like your water breaking, or regularly progressing contractions, but, you might be wondering, is my belly dropping a sign of labor?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, your baby dropping can, indeed, be a sign that labor is imminent and could happen in the next few weeks or days. Lightening, as it's also referred to, happens when your baby drops and settles into your pelvis in preparation for delivery. If you've been feeling short of breath, lightening can often increase your ability to breathe deeper, as baby is likely off of your diaphragm. But, this can also increase your need to urinate, as your uterus is now on top of your bladder.
Having your baby drop may cause you to feel and look different, too. As your baby's head drops into your pelvis, you could look like you're carrying low, instead of high. You also can feel more intense low backaches, the website for Dr. Sears noted, as those muscles and ligaments continue to stretch and loosen in preparation for labor and delivery. You might also notice some pelvic pain, due to the stretching of ligaments in your pelvis. These pains might feel like stings, occurring each time you or baby moves a certain way.
If this is your first pregnancy, your baby could drop as early as two weeks before delivery, as mentioned on the website for Dr. Sears. But, some women can experience lightening as early as four weeks before delivery, or as late as a few hours before delivery. Though your baby dropping is an indication of labor being close, there is no way to tell how soon it will actually begin.
If you think that your baby has dropped, it might be time to get your labor and delivery bag packed and ready. Keep your doctor notified on how what you're feeling, especially if the baby dropping is accompanied by any other signs of labor.