The common term for this event, lightening, doesn’t quite convey what actually happens: The baby’s head descends into the pelvis. Because of decreased pressure on the diaphragm and stomach, you will indeed feel “lightened” when your baby drops, and your breathing and digestion will become easier. You’ll probably also feel the need to urinate more often, however, and you may feel pressure or aches and pains in your pelvic joints and perineum. You’ll notice a change in the shape of your abdomen; the bulge will have shifted down and forward. If this is your first baby, lightening may occur about two weeks before labor starts. In women who have given birth before, the baby often doesn’t drop until labor begins.
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