During pregnancy, your baby is high up in your uterus. As your pregnancy progresses, the top of the fundus will get higher and higher until you will likely feel your baby in your ribs. Towards the end of the third trimester, the baby will drop down into the pelvis. When the baby drops down into the pelvis, it is called lightening or dropping.
When the baby drops down into the pelvis, most women will notice a change in the way they feel. You are not as likely to experience severe heartburn and breathing will be easier. However, because the baby is lower you will likely have to urinate more frequently and there will be a sense of pressure in your pelvis. Some women can tell the difference in the overall appearance of their abdomen once the baby drops and some may not.
As your baby moves further down into the pelvis, your caregiver will speak of this as a "station". A baby is at a -3 station when the head is out of the pelivs and at a 0 station once the head is at the bottom of the pelvis. When the baby is at a +3 station, the head is crowning and starting to come out of the vagina.
Although lightening is not a sure sign of an impending labor, it does mean that your body is moving in the right direction. In first time pregnancies, lightening may be a sign that labor is 2-4 weeks away. Women that have had a previous child may not experience lightening until labor is actually occuring.
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