Signs that baby has dropped in the pelvis

Updated July 19, 2017

Toward the end of pregnancy many women are tired, overwhelmed with the idea of birth and frantically getting the nursery ready. During the final weeks, the baby will drop into the pelvis, sometimes called "lightening." This is a sign the baby is moving into position and getting ready for birth. Some women know exactly when the baby has dropped, while others do not feel or notice any changes or difference in how they are carrying.

Breathing Easy After Lightening

At the end of pregnancy, the baby has grown significantly and is pressing against many of the woman's vital organs, including the rib cage, making it extremely difficult to breath; at this point some women feel they can't catch their breath. refers to the term "lightening," indicating the baby has dropped from under the rib cage, giving relief from the pressure on the rib cage and allowing for deeper breathing and for easier expansion of the rib cage.

Frequent Urination

Ann Linden, a certified nurse-midwife with, finds that many women will have to urinate frequently after the baby has dropped due to more pressure against the bladder. The baby is taking up more room in the pelvis, causing a woman to feel uncomfortable when walking. Linden says it is impossible to determine when a baby will drop because every pregnancy is unique and not all women will have the same symptoms.

Space of Baby in Uterus

The positioning of your baby changes when it drops into the pelvis, and tells us that during lightening, the baby rotates in preparation for childbirth. The baby is positioning itself in a face down position and is getting ready for life outside the womb. There will be a space between the breasts and the abdomen once the baby has dropped into the pelvis.

Pressure on the Bowels

When a baby has dropped into the pelvis and away from the rib cage, its head is now resting against the pelvic floor, adding extra pressure on the bowels. mentions this might make some women feel the baby is going to fall out or they may feel they need to empty their bowels. Feeling this extra pressure is another sign that the baby has dropped.

Heartburn and Hemorrhoids

Linden explains that along with the baby dropping into the pelvis, breathing becomes easier, and there might be relief from heartburn. This allows women to eat more, and feel less pressure on their stomachs, which eases digestion. finds that after a baby has dropped into the pelvis, women may notice haemorrhoids. A woman may also experience increased constipation and notice swelling of the feet and ankles.

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About the Author

Sarah Lipoff has been writing since 2008. She has been published through BabyZone, Parents, Funderstanding and Lipoff has worked as a K-12 art teacher, museum educator and preschool teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science in K-12 art education from St. Cloud State University.