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    Here's a complete guide on lightening or baby dropping. 

    Written on 14 August 2018

    Baby dropping is one of the signs that you are nearing labor. Breaking the enigma of the word, baby dropping refers to the process when the baby descends lower into the pelvis and this usually occurs towards the end of the 3rd trimester. You might get anxious when somebody mentions baby dropping but they are actually referring to a term known as Lightening. For first-time pregnancies, baby dropping/lightening can happen anytime between 34-36 weeks whereas if you are already a mother then the baby might not drop until your labor begins. There are no strict timelines or an accurate science to understand its occurrence. Signs and symptoms of Lightening are as follows:

    • Frequent urination- When your baby drops into the pelvis, the head of the baby puts more pressure on your bladder and that develops an urge to urinate more. Your trips to the washroom will be more.

    • Easier breath- The pressure on your diaphragm lessens when the baby drops into your pelvis. Your breathing process will be back to normal and you don’t have to struggle anymore with the shortness of breath that you were facing earlier.

    • Improved appetite- You may notice that you will be able to eat more because as the baby drops, the baby creates more space by easing the pressure on your stomach and you will be able to capacitate more food. This may also ease the heartburn that you were experiencing earlier.

    • The baby bump changes- You can feel your baby more whenever you sit down. When the baby drops it makes your stomach hang lower.

    • Frequent lower back pain- You will experience pain in your lower back as the baby descends into your pelvis.

    • A changed walk- You may experience discomfort while walking because the baby is putting too much pressure on your pelvis. You will begin to waddle a bit.

    • Hemorrhoids- The head of the baby puts too much pressure on the nerves of the rectum and pelvis which may also cause hemorrhoids.

    • Increased contractions- Your body is naturally preparing itself for the process of childbirth and as your baby drops you may experience strong contractions and there will be an increase in Braxton Hicks Contractions also.

    It is normal to experience pelvic pain whether you are a first-time mother or already have a baby. If the pain is accompanied by vaginal discharge, bleeding or fever then you must immediately seek medical help. Even after crossing 36 weeks of your pregnancy if you don’t see any sign of lightening/baby dropping then you must consult your ob-gyn. After consulting your doctor, you can try a few things like:

    • Increase physical activity- Do not stress your body but going for long walks will surely help. You may also experience false contractions while walking. Walking can help in relaxing pelvic muscles and with the gravitational pull, you may experience lightening.

    • Mind your sitting posture- Avoid sitting in a cross-legged position as that can push the baby back up. Sit with your knees and legs wide open and lean forward to help the baby change its position.

    • Birthing ball- Using a birthing ball will help nudge your baby into the pelvic cavity. It also brings relief from lower back pain.

    • Squatting- It helps in strengthening your hips and legs for delivery. It widens your pelvic opening and that makes it easier for the baby to slide down into your pelvic. Do not practice squats or any other physical activity without the supervision of a certified trainer.

    • Swimming- If you love water then can practice the water workout under the supervision of a professional. Do not forget to take permission from your doctor and do not hide from your doctor if you have pelvic pain.

    • Avoid sitting for long- Take frequent breaks if your job involves sitting on a chair for too long. Keep stretching for few minutes and do not hide your pregnancy from your boss and colleagues.

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