In your last trimester, you experience more symptoms and are probably waiting for your labor day. At around 34 or 36 weeks, you may notice you can breathe more easily and your appetite has increased too.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s most probably because your baby’s head has engaged. When your baby’s head has engaged, it means your baby has settled down low in your pelvis ready to make its entry into the world. If your baby’s head is partially engaged, you may feel long and strong contractions, until it moves down into your pelvis region.
The broad ligament is one of the many ligaments that surround your uterus. This ligament softens and loosens towards the end of your pregnancy allowing your baby to drop lower. Once your baby’s head is engaged, your uterus will rest for a while so you may have some waiting to do.
Once your baby’s head starts pushing and providing pressure, your labor will start.
Signs That Labour Is Near
Going into labor is exciting for you and your partner. It is also nerve-wracking as you never know when it can happen. So there will be tension and most likely a lot of waiting around. Here are a few signs that you need to watch out for to know if your labor is finally here.
Once your baby’s head is engaged, it will be pressing your bladder due to which you may notice an urge to pee more often.
Once your baby moves down and lower, you will feel some aches and pains mostly in your lower back region and pelvis.
You may suddenly feel an intense urge to tidy up, clean up and throw old stuff while stocking up on new baby things. It is said many women undergo this change in their third trimester.
At the end of your pregnancy, you may feel more nauseatic and cause abdominal cramps along with mild diarrhea.
Increased Vaginal Discharge
You may notice vaginal discharge which is egg white or pink-tinged in color. But if you notice any kind of heavy discharge, consult your doctor right away.
Sometimes, you may also notice blood discharge in lumps or bloody mucous. It may be in pink, brown or dark red color.
Water Bag Breaking
This is the most evident and common sign of labor nearing. The water bag is nothing but the protective amniotic sac around your baby. Once your water breaks, you may notice a gush of liquid pooling around your feet.
Every woman has a different body and no pregnancy is same. Some babies only engage once labor begins and there is nothing to worry about in such cases. The factors which affect when your baby’s head will engage is listed below:
- Your baby is lying with its back to your back (posterior position)
- If there’s a lot of amniotic fluid, or you have had another baby before so this baby now has more room to move around
- The size or shape of your pelvis makes it difficult for your baby’s head to fit inside
- A harmless growth (fibroid) is getting in the way
- Your baby is considered big for its gestational age
- You are expecting twins or multiples
- Your baby’s head is too big for the pelvis
- Your baby is not due yet
- The placenta is blocking your baby’s way
What If My Baby’s Head Does Not Engage?
Sometimes your baby may not engage until your labor begins. Your labor may be delayed if your baby cannot enter your pelvis for various reasons. So when you go into labor, your contractions will be strong and your cervix may not be dilated enough so your baby will take some time to travel down.
In case your baby has still not engaged even after labor, your doctor will most probably suggest you undergo a caesarean section. Though most doctors try their best to induce labor and try for a natural birth.