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How Will I Know When Baby Drops?

Have you hard of baby "dropping"? Here's what that really means and how you can tell when it happens.
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profile picture of Michele Hakakha, MD
Updated
May 3, 2017
close up of pregnant woman's belly sitting outside
Image: Gee363/Shutterstock

For most of your pregnancy, baby sort of swims around from one side of your uterus to the other. But at the 33- or 34-week mark, he or she will likely start to move permanently into the “head down” position to prep for labor, and descend further into your pelvis.

Many women recognize when it happens because there’s an almost immediate sense of relief: The constant pressure on your stomach and lungs might suddenly lift, and you might get a break from heartburn and shortness of breath. It can be a pretty big visual difference for some women too—you could suddenly go from “carrying high” to having your bump centered much lower in your torso.

When baby drops, you might also feel more pressure in the pelvic area and need to make even more frequent trips to the bathroom, since baby’s now taking up more room near your bladder. Once baby’s dropped, it’s a good sign that all systems are ready to go. But know that baby might not actually drop until you’re already in labor—it’s different for every mom-to-be.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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