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Is it true that since I have signs of Lightening, I am going to go into labor between 2-4 weeks?

By Anonymous December 29, 2008 - 10:25am
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This is my first pregnancy. I started having pressure on my pelvis about a week and a half ago So I searched this, and most information I saw said this could happen, but I wanted to see What this web site was about, and want to know the truth, and you seem to get great reviews from people. Thank you.

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Hi ispeakpoems and welcome to Empowher!

You may be closer than you think but an ultrasound should pinpoint it pretty well. How are you measuring, during your checkups? Are you measuring as being on time, or a little bigger/smaller?

Also, with regard to lightening, I personally think it's about as reliable as the Chinese gender chart that predicts the sex of the baby - as in, it's not reliable!

I 'dropped' on time, so to speak, by about 32 weeks but was still pregnant at 42 weeks and not even beginning to dilate. So I had to be induced. I also had tremendous pressure on my pelvis but none of my children were remotely ready to emerge "on time". They really enjoyed the womb!

So it's really difficult to tell if your body may be gearing up for labor. We hope not, at 30 weeks. Baby needs more time in there.

Please let your doctor's office know about your irregularity with your period at your next visit. And ask them to check the baby again to perhaps re-evaluate your due date.

Keep us posted and congratulations!

December 29, 2008 - 12:53pm

Well I was told that my due date is March 9th. So I am close to 30 weeks. The thing is that..I always had an irregular period. I would go months without having one sometimes. So the time of my last period I told them was in April. Do you think that it is possible that I am further along then they might think that I am?

December 29, 2008 - 12:05pm

Ispeak, what an exciting time you're in!

I know one of the most frustrating things about pregnancy is trying to figure out what's going to happen when. Every pregnancy is individual, and lightening is no different. Reputable sites vary in their estimation of how far ahead of time a baby starts its drop into the pelvis. Here's some good information on lightening and on other signs that labor may be about to begin.

The Mayo Clinic describes lightening -- when the baby "drops" -- as one of the first signs of labor. It's what you feel when the baby moves deeper into your pelvis, most likely freeing up some space beneath your rib cage. If this has happened, you probably are breathing a little easier and have a little more room in your stomach, but you might feel more pressure on your bladder and discomfort in your pelvic area.

"For a first pregnancy, lightening may occur weeks or days before labor begins. For subsequent pregnancies, it may not happen ahead of time. For some women, the changes are obvious. Others may not notice a thing."

Here's the Mayo site, which also discusses early signs of dilation, effacement, loss of the mucuous plug, nesting and when your water breaks:


The Lamaze site describes lightening as happening "in the weeks" before birth:


Here's what another website, Giving Birth Naturally, says about lightening:

"In essence, lightening can be the calm before the storm. It cannot be directly linked to indicating that labor will start within a certain window but it usually occurs up to two weeks before labor in 65% of first-time moms. Although it can't pinpoint the beginning of labor, it is a sign that things are headed in the right direction."


"Dropping is also known as lightening," says Dr. Benito Villanueva, an OB/GYN and co-author of the book Simple Principles for a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy (WS Publishing Group, 2008). "Lightening is when your baby drops into your pelvic cavity in preparation for birth. This can occur either up to four weeks before labor begins or within just a few hours."

That quote is from an article on iparenting about the process of the baby "dropping:"


And here's a Healthwise article that mentions the 2 to 4 week mark:


And this hospital site also uses the 2- to 4-week time frame:


I found all kinds of experiences that different women had. Many went into labor within two weeks of their baby dropping; one woman, however, said her baby dropped at 29 weeks and she had him at 40 weeks and two days.

Do you have any sense of what your mother's pregnancy(ies) were like? You may get some more hints there.

How many weeks along are you? The most common time I found for a baby to drop is after 34 weeks.

Take care! Feel free to write back with more details if you think they'll help us find better information for you. And get that suitcase packed soon!

December 29, 2008 - 11:19am

Hi, Ispeakpoems, and welcome to empowher! I'm very glad you found us and we'll be glad to help.

Can you tell me when your due date is? And whether, at your last doctor's appointment, you had any signs of dilation or effacement?

December 29, 2008 - 10:42am

I posted this question I just forgot to sign up first. Any help would be appreciated.

December 29, 2008 - 10:32am
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