“Lightening/Engagement” Illustration by Beth Okurowski from the book Pregnancy, Birth and You.
What is a baby dropping or lightening?
Almost towards the end of the third trimester, when the baby starts settling lower into the pelvis – it is called baby dropping or lightening. It is nothing but a positive sign that the baby and your body are both gearing up for the ‘D’ Day!
When is the ideal time for it? And when is it time to ring an alarm if it hasn’t happened?
Every pregnancy is different. And it is difficult to say when is the ideal time for your baby to drop. For some, it happens as late as just before the labour. As far as the baby is healthy – do not worry.
First Pregnancy – Anytime after the 32nd or 34th week of Pregnancy!
Second Pregnancy onwards – At the time of Delivery!
Can baby dropping predict the labour time?
Not really! There is no fixed time gap between the baby dropping and starting of labour. Though it is observed that for first time mothers, baby dropping can happen anytime between two to four weeks before the labour. And for mothers, who already have children; there is no fixed time at all – it can happen as late as at the time of labour!
Will I literally see the dropping of my abdomen from outside?
No.. You may not realise that difference! But your heartburns due to acidity will reduce and pressure on the bladder will increase – These might be signs that could help you conclude.
But there will always be those vigilant aunties who might point out to you that they have noticed the difference and conclude to you that your baby has dropped!
Do the babies that are still in the breach position post the 30th week also drop?
Like I said before – each pregnancy is unique. Yes, some babies do drop even in the breach position. And some of them even successfully come out via the vagina. Though there are more chances that the doctors will suggest a C-Section for a breach baby. (One should never just rely on accumulated information in such complex situations – rather always be in touch with the doctor and do what is right for you – irrespective of the world has to say!)