Not to be confused with a discharge of atmospheric electricity, lightening refers to the sensation that a pregnant woman feels when the baby drops. This is the time when the presenting (lowermost) part of the fetus descends into the maternal pelvis. Lightening classically occurs 2 to 3 weeks before labor begins. However, it may not occur in women who have had two or more prior viable pregnancies (and so are multiparas) until labor actually begins. Lightening is also called "engagement" because the presenting part of the fetus is then engaged in the mother's pelvis.
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Sensation of decreased abdominal distention during the later weeks of pregnancy following the descent of the fetal head into the pelvic inlet.

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light·en·ing 'līt-ən-iŋ, 'līt-niŋ n a sense of decreased weight and abdominal tension felt by a pregnant woman on descent of the fetus into the pelvic cavity prior to labor

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the sensation experienced, usually after the 36th week of gestation, by many pregnant women, particularly those carrying their first child, as the presenting part of the fetus enters the pelvis. This reduces the pressure on the diaphragm and the woman notices that it is easier to breathe. Compare engagement.

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light·en·ing (lītґən-ing) the sensation of decreased abdominal distention produced by the descent of the uterus into the pelvic cavity, usually occurring from two to three weeks before labor begins.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • lightening — index abatement (reduction), mitigation, mollification Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • lightening — the shedding of light, mid 14c., from LIGHTEN (Cf. lighten) (v.2). Meaning alleviation of weight (literal and figurative) is from 1520s, from LIGHTEN (Cf. lighten) (v.1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • lightening — lightning, lightening Lightning is the spelling with reference to electrical flashes in the sky (thunder and lightning), whereas lightening is a form of the verb lighten • (I welcome the lightening of this burden that s imposed on councils… …   Modern English usage

  • Lightening — Lighten Light en (l[imac]t n), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Lightened} (l[imac]t nd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Lightening}.] [OE. lightenen. See {Light} to kindle, illuminate.] 1. To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lightening — See lightening, lightning …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

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  • lightening — The operation (normally carried out at anchor) of transferring crude oil cargo from a large tanker to a smaller tanker, so reducing the draft of the larger tanker to enable it to enter port …   Military dictionary

  • lightening — /luyt n ing/, n. Med. the descent of the uterus into the pelvic cavity, occurring toward the end of pregnancy, changing the contour of the abdomen and facilitating breathing by lessening pressure under the diaphragm. [1520 30; LIGHTEN2 + ING1] *… …   Universalium

  • lightening — noun a) The sensation caused by the descent of the uterus into the pelvic cavity before the onset of labour b) The removal of cargo (especially crude oil) from a vessel in order to reduce its draft …   Wiktionary

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