There are many things that you need to learn about when you get pregnant and to be fair it can be completely overwhelming at first.
I didn’t have a clue what was happening to my body when I first got pregnant. There was so much for me to learn about. It was almost like starting a new job where you have a ton of new things to learn about and feel totally lost in the wilderness.
There is a lot to learn about in pregnancy, but it is also really exciting too.
I know they might seem like foreign concepts to you right now but you will soon start to hear them lots in the world of pregnancy and you will get familiar with them before you know it.
There is also one more term that you will need to learn about as you begin to enter into your third trimester of pregnancy.
You will need to learn about engagement and what it means when your baby’s head is engaged.
Let’s take a look at what that actually means.
What does it mean when your baby’s head is engaged?
When your baby’s head is engaged it simply means that your baby’s head has moved down into your pelvis area and is in the correct positioning for birth.
This is a great way to know that things are moving along nicely.
When does it usually happen?
There is no definite timeline as to when your baby’s head will engage. It can happen to women at slightly different stages.
There are also other factors that can affect this too.
If this is your first pregnancy then engagement usually happens around 34- 36 weeks.
Don’t get into a crazy fit if you don’t fall into that time frame. Other things can also affect this too.
Sometimes if you are being quite active the quicker your baby’s head will engage.
In second and subsequent pregnancies engagement tends to happen a bit later on compared to some first-time pregnancies.
What factors affect when your baby engages?
As we have already discussed:
If this is your first pregnancy then your baby will engage somewhere between 34-36 weeks.
If your baby is in the right position
If your baby’s back is to your back (this is called the posterior position) then it makes it harder for them to get into the engaged position.
If your baby is turned in the wrong position walking can help to spin your baby the right way and help with engaging.
If you do have a baby that your midwife says is breech then spinning babies is a great way to help get things moving and your baby facing in the right direction.
Ensuring your baby is facing the right way will help you to have an easier labor when the time comes.
If you are having a multiple pregnancy then you may find out that your babies may not engage until your contractions begin.
What does it feel like when your baby’s head engages?
Before your baby engages you might experience acid reflux and feel quite uncomfortable especially after eating a meal.
This is because your baby is taking up a lot of space in your stomach and therefore pushing all of your organs upwards.
As your baby begins to drop lower into your pelvis you will start to feel relief from acid reflux and generally, feel less “full”
You can also sometimes tell by gently pressing on your stomach where your baby is laying.
If you are unsure about this method your midwife or doctor should be able to tell you how far engaged your baby is, if at all.
Another clever way to tell your baby is beginning to engage is that you might start to experience something called lightning crotch.
Its a bit of a funny name but it really is something that does exist.
Lightning is a sharp shooting pain that comes on randomly starting from your second trimester into your third.
When I experienced this in my first pregnancy it totally shocked me as I thought maybe something was wrong. I did a lot of googling that day (don’t do that, it can totally freak you out!) It turned out that I had just never heard of lightning before.
The more your baby moves down the more space you will have for your lungs and stomach again.
How long after engagement will I go into labor?
There is no set time for this to happen.
Just because your baby is lying in the right position does not mean that your labor will begin at any moment.
You could still have a good few weeks before that happens.
In fact, with all 4 of my pregnancies, my children did not fully engage until the last moment, literally as I was in labor.
Every woman’s pregnancy is going to be different so bear that in mind when you are doing your research into anything pregnancy related.
Final thoughts on your baby’s head engaging
It’s so important to remember not to compare your pregnancy to the next person.
It can make you feel extremely paranoid if you do.
Your baby’s head will become engaged at the right time. If your baby is breech they can also turn once labor has started, so don’t get too worried if it hasn’t happened for you yet.
It will in time.
Enjoy your pregnancy because in the blink of an eye it will be over and you will wonder where the time went.