For expecting moms, an approaching due date brings emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety to fear. Since it's no secret that babies aren't always born on the day they're expected to, it's important for pregnant women to watch for signs that labor will soon begin. One indication that labor is near is the baby “dropping.” Pregnant women will know their baby has dropped when they notice certain changes in their bodies.
Change in Abdomen
When a baby drops, she moves into the lower part of the abdomen and settles her head into your pelvis. As this happens, most expecting moms can see that their stomach is now hanging lower than it did before. Some moms are even able to sense their baby's head resting just under the middle of the pelvic bone, according to Dr. Sears, renowned pediatrician and author. When sitting down, it will feel like your baby is on your lap. Even if Mom doesn't notice, other people who see her regularly will notice the change clearly.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, as your baby settles deeper into the pelvis, you'll notice that you can breathe again. During their third trimester, many women experience shortness of breath. Before dropping, a baby nestles right under his mom's rib cage. Once your baby drops into the pelvic region, the pressure on your lungs will be relieved, allowing you to take deep breaths and breathe naturally.
A less obvious sign that your baby is dropping is an increase in your appetite. According to Dr. Renee Hanton, senior physician and development specialist for Conceive Easy, a company dedicated to helping families with fertility, many pregnant women find it difficult to eat a complete meal during the third trimester. Along with relieved pressure on the lungs, the pressure on your stomach will be reduced significantly as well. The severity and frequency of heartburn may also be reduced as your baby drops.
While the upper portion of your abdomen is feeling relief from your baby no longer resting so high, the lower part of your body may feel some added effects as a result. The position of a dropped baby increases pressure on your bladder, because the baby's head now lies closer to it, says Dr. Sears. Frequent urination during pregnancy is common, but trips to the bathroom may increase even more once the baby drops.