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.
Plus, more from The Bump:
What are signs of labor?
Tool: Birth Plan
Checklist: Packing a Hospital Bag