When Does “Baby Dropped” Happen?
[TRANSCRIPT OF ANSWER]
“One of the things that people say about moms is, “you look like your baby’s already dropped”. They usually say that around two weeks before your due date. It’s hard for some moms to know exactly what we’re talking about when we say the baby dropped.
So let me show you on a model of a pelvis, what it means for your baby to actually drop.
What does Baby Dropped Mean?
It’s really helpful to understand the landmarks of your pelvis. So let’s start with the pubic symphysis is where the two halves of your pelvis join in the front and the sacrum is where your spine connects to your hips in the back. This is your biggest vertebrae in your back. It’s the one that your tailbone is connected to.
On the side of your pelvis is this big bony spine. It’s called an ischial spine. If you were sitting on a hard chair right now and you rocked your hips back and forth, you would feel that on the chair. Some people call it a sitz bone for that reason.
How To Examine When Baby Drops?
As a midwife, we feel this bone when we do an internal exam. So we use this bone as a landmark, To describe where is the baby’s head in the vertical journey of birth beginning up here at the very top of the pelvis where we would say the baby’s floating all the way through the pelvis until we can see some of the top of the baby’s head because this is the midline.
We’ll use this as a zero on a number line that has negative numbers on the top side and positive numbers on the bottom, so your baby might start off floating way up here and we’ll say, Oh, your baby is floating about a week or two before your due date. Your baby might sink into the pelvis that their head is totally encircled by bone and that’s when we say your baby has engaged.
It just means that their head is at the brim of the inlet of the pelvis. Another way of saying that your baby’s head is at the inlet of the pelvis is to say your baby dropped.
What Does It Feel Like When Baby Drops
Your midwife or doctor will know that because if they were to do an internal exam, the top of the baby’s head would be nearby these ischial spines. But you can actually tell if the baby dropped because you will have so much more room to breathe.
When your baby’s head is low in your pelvis, your baby’s tush is lower than your lungs, so for the first time in pregnancy, you’ll be able to get that good deep breath.
You’ll also have a bigger appetite because there’s less pressure on your stomach.
You’ll feel a whole lot better, but you’ll also start waddling.
This is where that pregnant walk comes in as if you have something between your legs because when the baby drops, you actually do have something between your legs.
Progression to Labor
So, station is the way the doctor or midwife describes. Where is your baby on the vertical journey in your body from way up here, at minus four or minus five centimeters down to the midline of the pelvis, which is zero station and all the way through till the top of the baby’s head is showing, which is plus three or plus four station in labor. So that’s how your baby makes a vertical journey in labor from the beginning all the way through the end until you’re holding your precious little one.
So the next time someone uses the word station with you, when they’re talking about where you are in labor or they tell you that your baby dropped, you’ll know that they’re discussing where is the baby on the vertical journey from way above your pelvis, all the way on the journey through your pelvis.”