Pregnant women, especially first time mothers, have many concerns relating to pregnancy and rightfully so. Pregnancy is a delicate period in a women’s life and utmost care should be taken. Education about the facts of pregnancy from diet to lifestyle and signs of impending danger are important in maintaining a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby. One of the many concerns is whether carrying the baby low is a indicative of any problem in pregnancy or not. Another common query is whether a low pregnant belly is an indication of the baby’s gender.
Causes of Carrying Baby Low
Carrying a baby low is neither the sign of a problem in pregnancy nor is it an indication of the baby’s gender. There are numerous factors that play a role in whether the baby is carried higher or lower than what one would expect. Most importantly though it is about expectation and preconceived ideas – pregnant women should not define the norm based on what others say or on the similarities or differences from other pregnant women around them.
Some of the reasons why a woman carries a baby low is due to her body shape and musculature. Better developed abdominal muscles make for a firmer tummy and this can determine how low the pregnant belly will sit. The muscles and supporting ligaments in and around the uterus also play a role and after the first pregnancy some women may find that the belly sits lower in subsequent pregnancies. Stretched muscles may not only be seen after subsequent pregnancies but also with a reduced level of fitness.
A heavier baby will also contribute to a lower lying pregnant belly as would multiple births (twins, triplets and so on). This is an important factor to bear in mind when listening to mothers who went through pregnancies decades prior. In the 70s and 80s the average birth weight was about 20% less than today. The rise in birth weight means that the baby will be carried lower than women did in yesteryear. At the same time, memory is often unreliable after so many years.
Lastly, a low sitting belly may be a sign of impending labor. The pressure in the abdomen lessens (known as the lightening) and the pressure in the pelvis rises. Other signs and symptoms indicative of impending labor may also be present like more frequent Braxton Hick’s contractions. This does not, however, indicate impending labor in the short term, but occurs as a preparation for labor in a few weeks. If the “drop” occurs too early in pregnancy along with other symptoms of labor then it may be a preterm delivery and extra care for both mother and baby is necessary.
Complications of a Low Pregnant Belly
A low pregnant belly does not indicate any danger or problems in pregnancy. However, carrying the baby low can exacerbate lower back pain which is common in pregnancy. The change in the center of gravity differs to the shift seen in carrying the baby higher. Arching the back is one way that pregnant women compensate for this shift but this may need to be more pronounced in order to “pull” against the lower lying belly. Furthermore, where the low lying pregnant belly is associated with a larger and therefore heavier baby, the strain on the back is compounded even further.