Engagement is a term that many mothers hear their doctors or midwives use late in the third trimester, although some moms-to-be are unsure of what it means. Technically engagement is the term used when the baby enters the pelvis to prepare for delivery. This engagement may occur around 36 or 37 weeks for a first-time mother, but may not occur until labor begins for moms who have previously had children.
Sometimes it is possible for a woman to tell when she becomes engaged. There might be physical signs such as, an increase in the ability to breathe comfortably, or a woman’s belly might look visibly lower to herself as well as those around her. When engagement happens a woman might feel lighter, or might feel like she has more energy.
She also might notice a whole new range of aches and pains. Her pelvic bone may start hurting, she may find that she has pain in her thighs as her pelvic bone makes room for the baby, and she may notice increased difficulty when it comes to walking. There is often an increased pressure placed on the woman’s bladder once her baby becomes engaged.
Engagement is one of several pre-labor signs that can occur weeks before delivery of your baby. The other signs include a change in energy levels, and you may feel more or less tired, the loss of your mucus plug, and Braxton Hicks contractions. Engagement is definitely a step that should be celebrated, but be careful not to get TOO excited or worried about it, as it doesn’t necessarily mean that labor is in your immediate future.
Other terms a woman might hear during her pregnancy that relate to engagement include “lightening” or “dropping”. These are in reference to the lightness that some women feel, or the visible dropping of the baby, and lowering of the belly positioning as the baby engages in the pelvis and readies itself for birth.
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