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In essence, carrying low in pregnancy means your baby is settled low in your belly, which may cause a strain on your cervix and cause it to open prematurely. So when my OB/GYN told me after five months of my first pregnancy that my baby was dangerously low, I got really scared.
So, naturally, I started doing research on why it happens and what it means. Turns out, a lot of what I read was misguiding Or, at the least, it wasn’t true for my experience.
All About Carrying Low in Pregnancy
So here’s some first-hand experience about carrying low in first (or any other) pregnancy, what to look out for, and how to deal with it.
Carrying Low vs High: Causes
The two main causes I read about carrying high vs low are body type and lower body strength. In short, short girls tend to look as if they’re carrying low due to their shorter torso. This does make sense, as I’m not too tall myself (5 ft 4 mom to be over here!) The second cause, however, does not always make sense. Apparently, if you were skipping on your exercise, you’re paying the price. However, I used to do it regularly all up until I had to go on bed rest. And yet, I’m now stuck in bed, figuring out what to do and how not to gain too much weight.
Another just didn’t make sense to me. If my height was the issue, how come I wasn’t carrying low since the first trimester? Why was I okay for five months and then – boom! My son suddenly decided to turn head-first and go low?
Sometimes, it may just happen.
Your baby decides to turn that way and drop earlier than expected, and there’s not much you can do to stop it. So there’s no reason for you to beat yourself up over not exercising, doing this, or not doing that.
Risks of Carrying Baby Low in Second Trimester
So, you found out you’re carrying low. How will your life change?
It mostly depends on whether you’re also getting false contractions, and if your cervix is able to take the weight. If both are problematic, there may be certain risks to carrying your baby low, especially later on in the second trimester, as well as the third trimester.
How can false contractions affect your carrying low?
Braxton-Hicks contractions can start happening at any point after week 20. For me, they started extremely early. And while some women don’t even feel them until they’re close to labor, for others, like me, they can get quite uncomfortable. Paired with your baby being low, they elevate the risk of preterm labor by potentially pushing your already lowered baby further into the cervix.
Here’s how you can differentiate Braxton-Hicks from preterm labor contractions.
But all of that is nothing to worry about too much if your cervix isn’t short, soft, or dilated. Mine was only slightly shorter and not incompetent, a term which I despise. Still, my OB/GYN, out of precaution, suggested I be on bed rest. Yours may think this isn’t such cause for concern and may allow some light walks. It all depends on how serious they think it may be, and how far along you are.
Additionally, if the baby is very low, it may help to skip on having sex until they’re out in the world – but you should definitely discuss it with your OB/GYN.
Carrying Low In Pregnancy: Can You Fix It?
If you’re already carrying low during pregnancy, there’s hardly anything you can do to make your baby go up. What you can do is control the contractions, lower their amount, and make sure the baby isn’t pushing at your cervix too much. You can do the latter by ensuring you take plenty of rest, don’t do any housework, don’t sit, and don’t stand. Each of those can create pressure.
You’ll probably get some estrogen and magnesium to calm the uterus and control the contractions. Make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid unnecessary stress, as they can cause contractions. Besides that, if you’re allowed to walk, you can also think about getting a belly belt. However, be sure to only do it if your doctor okays it, as they have their pros and cons.
It’s important to know that carrying low may not be physically noticeable, unless the baby is positioned really low. I was carrying low for the last 4 months of my pregnancy, and my belly looked perfectly normal.
So don’t rely on what your belly looks like. Instead, make sure to alert your OB/GYN if there are any new pains you’re feeling, and listen to their advice.
Why is my pregnant belly low?
All pregnancies are different. Some bellies appear to be high, others — low. However, if next to your low belly you’re also experiencing some pain or pressure in the belly, contact your OB/GYN. You may be carrying low and need to be placed on bed rest.
What does it mean if you are carrying low?
Simply explained, when you are carrying low in pregnancy, your baby is closer to your cervix than doctors would like. Because of it, the bigger they get, the more pressure you’re starting to feel. Depending on how low the baby is, it doesn’t have to be an issue, or it may warrant more detailed follow-ups.
Is it normal to carry a baby low during pregnancy?
While it’s not ideal, it’s something that happens to many women. There are certain risks to carrying a baby low, but with bed rest and certain medication, it can all be kept under control.
Does carrying baby low mean early labor?
Carrying low means there’s a real danger of an early delivery. However, this mostly depends on the state of your cervix: if it’s soft, too short, or dilated, those chances grow. That makes listening to your doctor crucial in preventing early delivery, because bed rest and certain medication can make a huge difference.
What does it mean when baby is really low?
It means you’ll likely have to be on bed rest and take certain medication (progesterone and likely magnesium, too) in order to prevent early delivery.
Are there any benefits of carrying low during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there are no benefits of carrying low during pregnancy, unless you enjoy laying down all day long while your husband cooks and cleans (and who wouldn’t?) Carrying low during pregnancy can mean your pregnancy is risky. As a consequence, your doctor may send you on bed rest, which would mean you’ll need to be off work. Like I mentioned, some may see this as a benefit, but unfortunately, there are no other benefits of carrying low.
Can you be carrying low in early pregnancy?
There’s no such thing as carrying low in early pregnancy. Carrying low is a consequence of your baby settling low in your belly. In the early pregnancy, your baby is hardly the size of a bean, so there’s no carrying low, or any risks associated with it. It’s a state that usually manifests during the second trimester.
Does carrying low mean you are having a boy?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much truth to the old belief that if you’re carrying low, you can guess the gender of your baby (and that it’s a boy). There’s no way to tell the gender by the baby’s position in your belly.
Why does my baby sit so low in my belly?
Your baby sitting so low in your belly usually happens during the second or third pregnancy, with multiples, or if your abdominal wall is generally weak. For me, though, it was none of the above, so sometimes, the baby will just be lower than usual, with no real explanation.
Does carrying low mean you have weak abs?
Carrying low can happen because you have weak abs, but that’s not the only reason. If you’ve been exercising regularly, that’s likely not the cause.