As an expectant parent, there are so many terms to learn and new “feelings” to identify in pregnancy. What does the term “the baby has dropped” really mean? What does it feel like? How do you know what’s going on? And what does this mean for your labor and delivery? Learn more about the signs your baby has dropped in pregnancy.
Signs Your Baby is Dropping During Pregnancy
Episode 144, June 6th, 2016
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: As an expected parent there are so many terms to learn and new feelings to identify in pregnancy. What does it mean when the baby is dropped? What does it feel like? How do you know what’s going on? Today we will talk about the signs that your baby has dropped in pregnancy. This is Preggie Pals.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Welcome to Preggie Pals! Preggie Pals is your online-on-the-go-support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant. I am your host, Stephanie Glover. Did you know that we’ve recorded over a hundred and forty episodes? We’ve covered topics for every phase of pregnancy. Visit the episode guide on our website, to scroll through these topics and listen directly from your computer, through iTunes, or download our free app available in Android, iTunes and Windows market place. And be sure to check our new network app where you can listen to all of your favorite New Mommy Media shows on the go. Here’s Sunny with how you can get more involved with Preggie Pals.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so hi everybody! We are so glad that you are with us today! And we believe that Preggie Pals is your show! We want you to get involved with the show as much as you feel comfortable doing so. So you obviously be on the show, you be a mom that participates on the conversation, but if that’s a little bit too much for you, one thing I would recommend that you do is you join our Facebook group. So we’ve got a group and a lot of times before we actually record our show, we post different questions that we are going to be asking some of the moms and dads that are participating in the episode. But we’ll post it as an advance to our Facebook group and that way you can participate that way.
If joining us in a live kind of thing is not quite…you are not there yet, that this is a good way to kind of ease into the process. There are different segments that you can participate in our show. There’s a couple that I’ll highlight right now. You know, as Stephanie mentioned, we’ve done a lot of episodes for Preggie Pals and we are always looking for new topics. Obviously there are new things coming out all the time with regards to pregnancy, so we want to know what topics you want to know more about. And then we can hopefully plan new episodes around those. So if you have any story ideas, episode ideas, we would love to hear that. You can post to our Facebook page, because we definitely check that out.
You can go to our website at www.newmommymedia.com and there’s a contact link. Another great way, a way that I love, is right through our website you can actually leave a voicemail so you don’t have to actually call us on the phone anymore, you literally click a button and it uses the microphone from your computer and you can send us a voice message through the website.
Again, there’s a lot more information on our website. If you go to www.newmommymedia.com there’s a Preggie Pals section on the website and you can click on segments to learn about the different ways you can participate in those segments.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Awesome things, Sunny!
SUNNY GAULT: Sure!
STEPHANIE GLOVER: So let’s get to know each other a little bit before we dive into today’s show. We’ve got three mammas here on the show today. So let’s just go around really quickly and introduce ourselves. I’ll go first. I am Stephanie Glover, the host of Preggie Pals. I am also a trained childbirth educator. I am a mother of two. Gretchen is four and a half and Lydia is two and a half. And with Gretchen I had a c-section. And with Lydia I had a v-back. Sunny?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, so I’m Sunny and I own New Mommy Media which produces Preggie Pals as well as a bunch of other podcasts you guys might be interested in. And I have four kids. My oldest is five, a boy, and then I have a four year old boy and twin girls who are two and a half, so two and two. And my first son was a vaginal birth, but I had a bunch of complications which resulted in all my other babies being born via Caesarean.
And I have a little bit of experience with babies dropping. I think at least with my first. It was kind of hard with the second too, because they were delivered early. But we can talk about that a little bit more later.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Sounds good! Ursula?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Hi! My name is Ursula. I am a childbirth educator, a doula, a midwives assistant and I own Birth You Desire ® which is a Washington DC company where we are a doula collaboration and we support women through all their birth options. I am also the mother of two boys. Joe is eighteen and Dan is soon to be seventeen. So I am in a very different part of my life at this point.
Both boys were spontaneous vaginal deliveries actually in the all-fours position which is the one position I would my midwife I would not deliver in. Because I wasn’t going to deliver as a dog, that’s what I told her. But I had both boys on all-fours, in a birth centre, with midwives. And it was a powertive transformative experience for me. And that’s pretty much what propulsion me into this work.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Well, thank you and welcome!
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so before we kick off our conversation today about babies dropping in pregnancy, want to clarify that, not dropping your babies, a totally different topic. So we are going to talk about a news headline. And I saw this as it came across my newsfeed, you know, I do all the Google alerts and I look for, you know, really interesting pregnancy headlines. And I couldn’t pass this one up, you guys!
This says: “Bluetooth enabled pregnancy test hits shelves”. Now, I am all for electronics, right? I mean, we do this podcast, and then I feel like my phone is glued to me at the hip, and I download apps, and all these kinds of stuff all the time, that’s just a way of life for me. So this definitely caught my eye. The article itself is pretty brief which kind of lead me to kind of doing some additional research. But here’s what the article actually says: First Response, so if you guys have taken a pregnancy test which if you are listening to the show hasn’t, unless you are a male maybe you haven’t personally taken the test…but First Response, you know, a very popular brand, they now have a pregnancy test that enables you to send test results to a free mobile app that users can download on their Smartphone, and it retails says between $15-22.
So while you are waiting for those results, you can use the different features of the app. There’s fitness tips on there, pregnancy related stuff, stuff on fetal development and more. So that’s really all the article says. So I’m like: I’ve got to learn more about this app. So then I went over to iTunes and First Response does have their own app. and I have to be honest. This isn’t an app review. So I didn’t download the app and like, you know do a bunch of research on, you know, usability and all that kind of stuff. But from what its saying it has a lot from the basic information that I think a lot of pregnancy apps would have.
So anyway, I just kind of wanted to get everyone’s perspective on this. Me, being a technology kind of person, I mean, initially I was really excited about it and I was like: “oh, there’s something new and interesting about this”, and then when I went on it I’m kind of like: “so, it sends the results to you app…” I guess I don’t really get it. Am I the only person that doesn’t get this? I don’t understand…
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, I feel like it’s just some extra step and I mean, if you look at the test and if it is positive I don’t know why you need to upload it to an app…
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: I don’t know why your provider needs to know the moment you find out you are pregnant! And how are you planning to tell your husband? Are you going to send him a picture of “hey, I am on the app" and that's how you are going to tell your partner you are pregnant: “Oh honey, guess what? The pregnancy app says that I’m pregnant!”
SUNNY GAULT: I think this is a way to pretty much just promote the fact that they have an app, honestly. Because you can download this app for free on iTunes. And it actually has some stuff where you can track your ovulation and then stuff like that. So to me…ok I have no proof of this, but to me I’m thinking the company created an app, they spent a lot of money on an app, it’s not getting the results they wanted, so they are changing the marketing on how they promote it. They are hey everyone is buying our pregnancy sticks, you know, in the store, so let’s somehow tied this in and let’s see if we can make back some money here.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: I think what might have been more interesting and more useful, is if the ovulation tests were blue-toothed to the app. Because if you are trying to get pregnant, and you maybe want to use that somehow for charting, or you know, to have the plug-in that you know, and you know, that would might be more helpful. But I feel kind of once you pee on a stick, you know the result and I’m not sure it is necessary to go into an app.
SUNNY GAULT: Right! Yeah, because you are kind of done with it after. If it’s a positive test, you are kind of passed the whole tracking point, right? I mean maybe due-dates stuff, but then I don’t know… There is a disconnect for me somewhere here. I’m not really sure. So anyway…
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: The third image on the app screen is “Congratulations! You are pregnant!” with a positive sign next to it. I’m thinking can they read that on the strip.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Unless the test doesn’t show you on the stick and you have to log into the app to find out.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, just one more thing to make the whole thing more confusing! You know, just allow technology to like mess up one more step of the process, right?
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And like watch the app doesn’t download properly and you don’t know your results, and in the end you are all stressed up.
SUNNY GAULT: Exactly! You app freezes and you are like: “NO! I’m not buying another test!”
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: And what happens if you get the alert in a business meeting?
SUNNY GAULT: Well, hopefully your time here, what is this, what does it say, like 3minutes or whatever, 2min15sec or whatever it is. Hopefully you are not peeing on a stick and then jetting off to a business meeting.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Under the conference table!
SUNNY GAULT: It is like: “You are pregnant! You are pregnant! You are pregnant!” Anyway, I kind of feel like this is a miss. But if this is your thing, if you think that is fantastic, just know that the option is out there. I don’t know. I still kind of like… I was a big fan of the digital test that just said: “pregnant" or “not pregnant”. Didn’t have to send it to an app or anything like that, but they used to call those digital tests? I don’t know if they still do. And I like that as opposed to reading lines. But that was good enough for me. But hey, if this is your bag, you are like: “oh my Gosh, this is fantastic!” know that it’s out there and it can help you determine whether or not you are pregnant.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Today on Preggie Pals we are chatting with Ursula Sabia Sukinik, owner of Birth You Desire ® in the Washington DC metro area. Ursula is a childbirth educator and birth doula. As a childbirth educator she’s worked with over 1500 couples and as a birth doula and a midwife assistant she’s attended almost a thousand births. So quite the impressive resume there! So welcome to Preggie Pals, Ursula!
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Thank you!
STEPHANIE GLOVER: So first of all what does it mean when a baby drops in pregnancy?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So drops is sort of one of those tricky things because people talk about babies dropping without really knowing what that means. So the technical definition means that the baby’s head has entered the brim of the pelvis meaning that the baby has started the engagement process. What dropping really means is a sensation which a little different. So it’s the word that’s constantly misused. And I think that’s why maybe providers don’t talk about it the way they used to because everyone’s perception of what that means is different.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And so you mentioned the word “engagement” as maybe being another term for dropping. Are there any other terms or can you maybe define…? So you said it’s when you go they settle more into the pelvic area?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Correct! You know, if you think of the baby in a swimming pool, the bag of waters as his big swimming pool and the baby is, you know, playing around in there, and as they get bigger and bigger, the swimming pool reduces to a backyard swimming pool, and then it becomes a hot tub and the baby has less and less space, and when that happens ultimately most babies at some point will fall or drop into the pelvis. So that’s technically engagement in the midwifery books, but it’s also called lightening.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yes, I’ve heard that term before too. So I know that for first-time moms, or even second-time moms who are maybe doing more reading in their second pregnancy, all of these terms can get sort of confusing, so I think it’s helpful to sort of debunk it and show how they are all related. Now when you are saying that dropping is also a sensation, what would you say that dropping feels like?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So everyone responds and talks about it differently. So for some women they say it’s the time that it could friendly take a full breath again. Some women don’t recognize that their lung-capacity has changed because the baby is lower, instead they say: “oh my God, I have to go pee” all the time instead. Some women start to feel wobbly because the baby is lower in the pelvis. Other women report that they appetite comes back because there is less pressure on their stomach. And even other women go on to say they feel like there is a bowling ball down there, or “now my sacrum hurts”, or “now I have pains in my ties” which is directly due to the baby pinching different nerves as it’s engaging in the pelvis.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Now, Sunny, talk to me about some of your experience with dropping. You said you had at least notice it with one of your pregnancies. What did it feel like to you?
SUNNY GAULT: I can associate more with the whole bowling ball dropping sensation. I mean I really just felt like it was…I don’t know. Like it was a go time. I don’t know. I just felt like this was a completely different feeling and everything just felt lower. I can’t say that I felt impacted at all by like having more room or being more hungry or anything like that. I don’t think I ever felt that. But again, I felt it with only one of my four children, so… Three pregnancies because of the twins, but yeah, only one of my pregnancies did actually go to term where the baby had a chance to drop really and to have that whole process happen more naturally.
So yeah, that’s what I would describe it as. I kind of just felt lower to the ground like a low rider.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, I can relate. I remember with my first pregnancy I did have some of that pinching that Ursula mentioned. Or like the lower back kind of pain and pinching. And then with my second I remember I noticed something changed when I would…I could walk around for a good three minutes, but after three minutes yeah, it felt like something was…a bowling ball was kind of sitting in the middle to the back of me. And almost like I landed on the centre of a bicycle like when you fall off your seat on to the bar. It just felt very heavy. Yeah, I know, it wasn’t comfortable. And it would make me very slow. Like I was a slow mover. It kind of almost felt like I was underwater walking a little kind of…like something was just way down there, and heavy, and…
Now, Ursula, I know that you’ve got older kiddos, but can you remember any sensations of dropping in your pregnancies?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: I remember being of those moms who reported it really early. And I remember being able to breathe. And I remember going to the bathroom a lot. But what sorts of surprised me was when the baby even got lower, I would have this sequel pain, when the baby would pinch on this nerve, that would almost radiate down the front of my tie, and that electrical nerve feeling is really freaky when it happens.
And I remember like being stunned and having to stop, like freeze on my spot once or twice just to breathe through what was going on and then go back to normal again.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And I remember too, you know, as a first-time mom when you'd have some of those strange sort of instant pains associated with pregnancy, I would totally get in my head and be like: “wait a minute, if I am breathing through this, what’s coming next?” But maybe it is nature’s sort of way to prepare you for the discomfort.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Definitely! I tell my clients the more you can feel now, the better. Because I think if you can do more work on the front end, there is less work you have to do in the back end.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Because you have to learn techniques, things that sort of get you through that pain management. Yeah, it kind of eases you into it for sure. Now, does the baby bump change in appearance once baby droops? If someone’s looking at you from the outside and they are looking at your profile, does that actually physically change as baby drops?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So sometimes it does. Some women just carry lower. I think if somebody who lives with you or sees you on a more regular basis will actually notice two or three different things. The first thing they are going to notice is that you have more of a shelf on the top of the belly of the fondus. You know, I would always joke that is the place where you balance your dinner plate when you are sitting at the dinner table during your pregnancy. So there is that shelf there that becomes more prominent.
The other thing that you are going to notice is if you look at mom from the back or from the front, those nice fat stores that we have on our hips, they seem to disappear, because they get forward with the baby when the baby drops.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Ok, so I can sort of test to that cause I remember I loved being pregnant, because there were no love handlers. I totally remember being like: “man, from behind I’m looking good” because everything was pulled forward.
SUNNY GAULT: Everything stretched to capacity.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, and I think it’s interesting too when you are talking about how women carry their babies, because I think that’s a misconception too. And particularly when babies still have the opportunity to swim around a lot and moving shift position like your belly can sort of change it what it looks like, you know, almost throughout the day or if we’ve had a bigger meal. You know, towards the end of the day, I was always much bigger than in the morning and so sometimes when people were looking my belly they were like: “oh, you’ve dropped”. But then maybe the next day baby looks like a tire. I think that’s kind of an interesting, you know, like maybe we are not using the drop word correctly. So how may a woman determine that the baby has in fact dropped?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So I think if we go back to those sensations and not looking for the sensations or waiting for it, but just all of the sudden saying: “oh, this is like really different from what I was experiencing before” So if mom couldn’t go up and down the stairs without having to stop and catch her breath, and all of the sudden she can go up and down the stairs, but it feels different, that would be an indicator. Or that her meal cycle has changed. Like I said, able to eat more or inability to eat. I also find out that the majority of woman report hip sacral tail bone sensation when the babies drop or fall into the pelvis. Just because that space is taken up differently. I mean, especially if this is your first pregnancy, you’ve never had anything of that size in your body before.
So there are a lot of sensations that go hand-in-hand with that, but it’s a sensation that happens. It’s not a sensation you find, if that makes sense.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Sure, and I think it allows you to just tap into your body and not look for it and stress out to much about it.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Definitely!
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And how would a care provider determine or measure this? Because obviously they are not feeling what you are feeling. So are there ways that they can tell if the baby is, you know, engaged at a certain point?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So there are kind of three ideas. So one, and more and more providers, at least in my area, are defaulting to this, which is ultrasound. And they do ultrasound. If we can’t see the baby’s head, the baby has engaged. Where if we can’t get a good measurement on the baby’s head, and you know, I’m sure you guys have gone through this before, but we know ultrasounds have a 20% inaccuracy rate associated to them.
So not the most accurate way to do this. The more common way that you see is that when you go to your pregnancy that they measure your belly in centimeters and usually when your baby engages you don’t seem to grow at the same rate. So if you are like 36weeks-38weeks and all of the sudden you are now back to 36 weeks, oh-baby has dropped. My personal favorite is called Leopold’s Maneuver. And the Leopold’s Maneuver is a technique that is specifically taught in midwifery schools, it’s not always taught in [inaudible] school.
And it’s a very effective tool that helps people to understand what position the baby is in, as well as how they baby is aligned in the pelvis. The provider puts their hands on the mom’s stomach while she is on her back and they feel around for where the head is, and where rump is, and where the back is, and where the feet are, and once they know what the baby’s position is, they can measure by fingertip widths between the baby’s head and the pubic bone on the mom.
And basically one fingertip width is one station in pregnancy. So if there are three fingertips between the pubic bone and the top of the baby’s head or what we perceive as the baby’s head, the baby is at minus 3 stations, which means the baby has just entered the pelvis.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Ok, I was just going to ask if you can maybe just elaborate on what station means for those who aren’t familiar.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Yeah… So if we think about the pelvis anatomically it is this… It’s a ball basically. And the ball changes shapes and there’s four different shapes of pelvises which we don’t need to get into, but they are all about the same as you enter in and the baby actually has to enter the pelvis, the baby actually has to turn sideways to fit through the hip portion and then as the baby is being born, the baby actually has to rotate again. Those are the three of the seven karma movements of labor.
So the baby enters into the pelvis and that’s approximately about 6inches. And the baby descends, and descends, and descends, and then the baby rotates to face the hip to go through the centre portion which is 0 station. And then as the baby comes under the pubic bone we then move into +1/+2/+3 station and +3 is when we see the top of the baby’s head. So (-3) is all the way into the top. So that’s:-3, -2, -1. 0 is the midpoint where the top of the baby’s head is even with the ischial spines which are these two bony parts in the pelvis. And then it goes +1, +2, +3, we see the top of the baby’s head.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And so I think I’ve heard the term for the negative stations. Would that be considered like the baby is floating?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So floating or ballotable means that when you will do a vaginal exam, that the baby’s head is not wedged in and if we were to poke the baby’s head with our finger, the baby bounces in the pelvis.
SUNNY GAULT: The visual on this…
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Well, it’s best visual I got for you.
SUNNY GAULT: No, no, it makes sense. Just think of the baby being able to bounce in that position.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: And the baby can really wiggle and bounce in there. So if the baby is not locked in the place, the baby is still floating or ballotable.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Now, did either of you have any conversations with your providers, probably you know mid to late pregnancy, about baby dropping? Was there ever a conversation?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, I am trying to think for me… Did I have this conversation? I really didn’t know. You know, you are pregnant with your first baby. I mean, you really… I didn’t know anything about the stations, you know the stages. I just… I didn’t know. You know, baby comes out, boom. So I was really relying on them to guide me through everything. So I would say no. If she did say something, I didn’t know what she was saying and I just kind of like went: “ok, whatever, you know what you are doing, whatever”.
But I did know a little bit more with my second son. And what I really remember about that was that it was a planned Caesarean and due to my complications from my first birth, and there was no other way to do it, he had to do it as a Caesarean. And so I remember her saying to me: “oh, yeah, he is nowhere near dropping”. And this was the day… She was checking me out right before surgery. And I just remember her saying that because I was so disappointed.
First of all I was so disappointed that I had to have this planned Caesarean. I had such a good vaginal birth with the first one. I had a lot of complications, but I didn’t realize that I was having complications until after everything was over. So the actual birth experience was really great for me with my first. And I really wanted to have that with all my other children. So I was already upset about the whole Caesarean thing, and then… And I kind of felt like when my son came out, my second son after the c-section, I felt like he wasn’t quite done. He needed to cook a little bit longer. He came out at 38weeks. And I was like: “eh, I just don’t feel like…” he just didn’t have some of the same things that my first son had.
And so when she said he hadn’t even dropped, I was just kind of like: “this is too soon, this is too soon”. So that’s what I remember.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, and Ursula, do you remember having conversations with your care providers about, while you were still pregnant, about baby dropping?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So I actually did. So I had a couple of different things that happened. I was a high risk pregnancy, but for the both pregnancies. So I was under a lot of fetal monitoring and ultrasounds almost, you know, weekly or biweekly. So it was very… I had that confirmation when the baby dropped because we saw it on the ultrasound. We had that confirmation. And I was… I did a really good job education myself actually, which is probably why I became a childbirth educator, but there was so much other stuff going on, like renovating the master bedroom and trying to buy baby stuff, and figuring out how to install the car-seat, that I really wasn’t foremost in my mind in that moment and kind of Sunny my children were born at 37weeks. So I may not been able to experience everything that everybody else did.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Sure! Yeah, I don’t remember really talking about, certainly not stations or engaging I think in pregnancy. I think it really both times came up more in childbirth when they you know… because there are checking the dilation and then they’ll tell you the station and all of that. So yeah, I don’t remember having a lot of conversation with my providers while I was pregnant about it.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So as a doula I have to say that’s like the most, that’s the hardest thing for me, because if I know what station the baby is at, I can have a better idea of how the birth may play out. Because if the baby can’t enter the pelvis, the baby can’t come out of the pelvis.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Right.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So I am less concerned, as a doula, I am less concerned about the dilation and the effacement numbers. I am more concerned about what station the baby is at. And if I’ve got a baby that’s low in the pelvis and the mom’s reporting all these sensations, I get excited, because I know things are going to work out! So my perception is a little different as a birth worker.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Well, I want to talk about that. I actually have some questions pertaining to that in just a minute, but we are going to take our first break. So when we come back we’ll go over when babies typically drop in pregnancy and what that means for labor. So we’ll be right back!
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Welcome back! Today we are talking about signs that your baby is dropped during pregnancy. Joining us today is childbirth educator and doula Ursula Sabia Sukinik. So we were just talking about baby being engaged and what that can mean for labor and you know, as a doula you like to kind of know this so that you see how you can assist a woman in making her childbirth what she wants it to be. So if a baby… Say a baby is sunny side up. Will they drop the same way? And will the signs of dropping be the same?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: They do drop the same way depending on the proportion between baby and mom’s pelvis, so baby’s head and mom’s pelvis. You know, if we have a large baby with a large head, and we have a small woman, no-she’s probably not going to drop the same way or report sensations the same way, but for the vast majority of women-yes. I will qualify that statement saying that when the baby is posterior or eclectic that a wider part of the head is trying to enter the pelvis first and because of that the women actually report more sensations than the babies that are not.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Mmm, interesting! And what about a breach or transverse? Because I know transverse is tricky, if they are sideways I am not sure how they drop, but I know a breach does. So could you speak on that a little bit?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So transverse babies only drop if their shoulder or their arm drops into the pelvis. So the mom will report similar sensations not as descriptively probably. And when those babies are born often times we’ll see you know a little bit of swallowing or bruising from the way they were presenting. The same thing happens with breach. When the baby is in the frank breach position, which is buttex first with their legs folded up like bullet like position. Those babies will enter the pelvis early. And because the butt is much more fleshy than the head is, the babies will actually get lower in the pelvis before moms report those sensations versus when you have a head that’s first.
Now when the baby is in the cannonball or the classic breach position where they are in there sort of criss-cross applesauce like their tail is sitting on the floor, those women do report similar sensations to a baby that is head first or vertex just because of the surface area.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Interesting! And is there any difference if the woman is carrying multiples?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So usually with multiples baby A… They are called baby A because they are first in the canal, and baby B would be the other baby, and the baby C would be the subsequent child. So usually with multiples either they are in there like book ends right next to each other and they don’t figure out who is going to come first until labor starts. Or one of them sort of says: ok, I am bigger, I am heavier and I am taking that first stop. And then the second baby sort of fits in wherever they have space.
SUNNY GAULT: I can attest to that. Because my baby B was like all cramped up, poor thing! It just probably came out with just a cramp on her side from being all tucked up and in a weird sport wherever she could fit. My baby B was actually the biggest one tough. And they both came out about 5.5pounds. But yeah, throughout the pregnancy and everything when we start tracking them, like yeah, she was always at least a few ounces bigger.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: That's unusual, Sunny, in my experience at least. Usually baby A is a little bit bigger.
SUNNY GAULT: Really? Interesting!
STEPHANIE GLOVER: What just station does a baby usually drop?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So babies… I mean if you look at the textbooks they say babies will drop anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. I am going to disagree with that. After supporting over a thousand births now, I can tell you the babies drop all in different times. Some babies drop early, some babies drop late. Personally my children dropped I think 4 to 6 weeks before delivery. Probably 2 to 4 weeks is a good rule of thumb. I like to tell my mom’s that you are going to be really uncomfortable for at least a month before your child is born. And the purpose of that is to get your body used to these sensations and to get the baby used to these sensations, but also to make you happy you are going into labor and that’s all.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: It’s true! You get like that second trimester vacation and then it’s like… You want to make you uncomfortable so that you actually are motivated to get the baby out.
SUNNY GAULT: That’s a good point tough! I didn’t think about it that way.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And then I would love to hear both of your takes on this as well, because is it different for a first-time mom versus a second-time mom in terms of the gestation that the baby might engage? Sunny?
SUNNY GAULT: I don’t really know.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah, you are not sure, because of the Caesareans.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, right, but I will say that I definitely…maybe this would or would have not happened with subsequent babies. But with my first I know he didn’t drop till the very end. Like I think I had an appointment made… I actually had a scheduled appointment the day I naturally went into labor. And I think that they were just saying… I mean they were kind of coxing him down, but like I think I’m a last-minute dropper. And like I said with my second son I was at 38weeks and maybe a couple days, I can’t remember when my scheduled Caesarean happened, and my OB said: “oh, he is nowhere near dropping” .
And then with the twins they were born at 35weeks and actually they did have a planned Caesarean but not until 38weeks, and they came early because baby A broker her water. And so I never really heard anything about dropping at that point. I mean, when you are pregnant with twins, you feel like your whole body is just a baby anyway, so like if someone would have dropped, I don’t know that I would have known. I was just so uncomfortable, you know, even at 35weeks.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah and I think I did drop sooner with my first then my second. I am also, Ursula, a childbirth educator and I know that there can be some differences with what happens before labor versus what happens during labor with the first time versus second time mom. So, I was wondering if you have noticed any of that as a mother or in your practice.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: As a mother, I actually found that my second kid dropped earlier than my first and I think the reason for that is my first made such a nice mark in my pelvis that my second son was just able to follow the first child. With my clients, I would say that the majority of my second and third-time moms drop later than they do with their first. I don’t know why that is, I don’t know if it is because the moms are constantly carrying babies on their … child, their toddler on their hip so their pelvis is out of whack and because their pelvis is out of whack, the babies don’t have the same space to drop in.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Well yeah because it sounds counter-intuitive, right? Like you would think that you are just … you know, the first baby makes way and the rest follow suit easier or quicker so it is kind of interesting because I always thought that that seems counter-intuitive.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: The tissue does have muscles and the tissue has muscle memory so it does remember what to do when like with the first birth where we have to teach the body what to do. The second and third time, it just remembers it and it does it more easier which is also why we always look more pregnant with subsequent pregnancies because our bodies know what they are supposed to do.
But I think it really has to do with our postures and our positions and our body mechanics and our habits and our day-to-day lives because you know, my more athletic moms or my mom’s that are really concerned about posture and making sure they are carrying their babies, they seem to drop earlier than the women who are the more classic couch potato type.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Interesting. So I am going to ask you one more question before we finish up. When baby drops, does it cause any other changes in the body to move mom closer to labor like is it related to labor beginning?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: So, if we are talking about exclusively with first-time moms, usually when the baby drops, they add additional pressure on the cervix, causes the cervix to start to thin and that thinning is called effacement and it you think about it this way – your cervix is actually thickens in pregnancy so it has to go from a turtleneck to a mock turtleneck to basically a t-shirt before it can start to open. So that pressure thins or effaces the cervix.
Now, as the cervix is thinning and effacing, there are going to be cramping sensations, the cervix is vascular, there are blood vessels in there that might rupture so there are sometimes spotting as the cervix thins. And then of course, there is what Sunny was talking about which is that, you know bowling ball pressure in your bottom or the sequel pressure that I described just because the baby is lower in that tissue for you.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: So it can help the opening process?
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: Yeah.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Well awesome. This wraps up our episode of Preggie Pals for today. Thank you so much Ursula for joining us. For information about our show as well as information about our experts, visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of the Preggie Pals Club. After the show, we are going to be talking about benefits to encouraging baby to drop and how to do so.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay, so before we wrap up our show we have … as I was telling you guys at the beginning of the show, we have all these segments that you can participate in and one of them is called Pregnancy Oops and it is where you share kind of the funny things that have happened to you during your pregnancy. So, this comes from one of our listeners – Sarah – and Sarah says … oh actually I didn’t even realize it – so she is a twin momma so hi fellow twin momma. So she says:
When I was pregnant with our twins, hubby got kicked in the face a lot. However, I think that the funny is was when one of the cats came to sit on my lap when I was seven months pregnant. The baby – one of the babies – kicked hard and hit her square in the jaw. She couldn’t figure out what happened so she settled back down on my lap only facing the other direction. So the other twin kicked her directly in the eye. She still doesn’t sit with me very often anymore and the boys are almost nine months old.
SUNNY GAULT: Poor cat. Cats just want to sit in your lap and the poor babies are like kicking her like no matter where she goes.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: I wonder what their relationship … the babies’ relationship with the cat now.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, the cat probably stays pretty far away. Especially, they are getting that toddler aid, I am sure she is not around too much.
URSULA SABIA SUKINIK: I have a similar story, except it was with my husband. So I am I think 35 weeks pregnant with my first son and I am spooning with my husband in the bed so my belly is to his back and we are just having a nice cuddle moment. And then all of the sudden my husband goes “stop hitting me” and I go “I am not hitting you.” And then he turns around and says “seriously, that was my kidney, stop it” and I said “it is not me, dude, I am not doing it” and he was like “would you just grow up and stop doing it, it is not funny”.
And I said “let me show you something” and I rolled down to my back and said “give me your hand” and I put his hand on my belly as my son Joe proceeded to take his elbow push it against my husband’s hand, his palm, and stick it out of my belly and do a 360 rollover on my belly. He freaked. He freaked out, he basically jumped out of the bed, he wouldn’t like touch me or the belly for a week, he was so petrified that he was going to hurt me or hurt the baby. You know, like the baby was too real for him at that moment. It was awesome.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: It is so strange that there is like this body in there that has their own free movements.
SUNNY GAULT: That was one of my favorite things to do like towards the end of a pregnancy was just to lay down flat and to watch my belly move like I thought that was the coolest thing ever; kind of gives me like you guys remember the movie The Alien you know you are kind of waiting for something to like just jump out of your belly. Obviously that doesn’t happen but I just thought that was like the coolest thing. It is not exactly comfortable but it is cool.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Definitely. It is one of the things I miss about being pregnant, all the movement.
SUNNY GAULT: So Sarah, thanks so much for sending this in. We do appreciate your funny stories. If you guys are listening and you have a funny Pregnancy Oops story that you want to share with us, we would love to hear it. You can go to our website at www.newmommymedia.com , you can click on the Contact link. Also, there is a great banner on all the pages on our website that says Send Voicemail so if you would rather tell your story yourself, that’s a great way to do it too, just click that little banner and you can use the microphone on your computer and send us a voicemail that way and tell your own story.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate that you listening to Preggie Pals.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
• Boob Group for Moms who Breastfeed
This is Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your life
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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