Have you got a small pregnant belly? A huge pregnant belly? Is yours high in the clouds or low on the ground? Guess what! We’re here to tell you… drum roll… that’s absolutely, completely, and totally normal.
Think of your pregnant belly as the vehicle to bring your little one(s) into the world. Imagine if all vehicles were the same? That would make for very boring bumps on the road. Our bodies are all magnificently different—and that’s something to embrace.
So, in case you need to hear this: you have full permission to love your pregnant belly unconditionally. And one of the best ways to show your love is to get to know your bump and the universe inside it. Time to delve into pregnant belly shapes, sizes, and sensations.
Pregnancy belly: 101
Pregnancy belly: shapes and sizes
Not surprisingly, your build, muscle tone, and bone structure all play a part in how your belly is going to bump. (Again, remember the part about not having to bow down to any sort of idea of a “normal” pregnant belly?)
Some things that might affect whether you have a big pregnant belly or small:
- Your height and weight
- Your bone structure
- Your past pregnancies
- Your muscle tone at the time of pregnancy. (If you’re asking, why is my baby bump so high? The answer typically has to do with muscle tone, with greater tone meaning a higher bump.)
Babies often do tricks by emerging gargantuan out of smaller bumps, and vice-versa. So, don’t stress if you feel like you’re bigger or smaller than those around you who are at a similar point of pregnancy. When it comes to your little passenger, it often has more to do with their positioning than their size.
And if you’re feeling all sorts of things about your own weight gain right now, again, normal, normal, normal. We’re conditioned to feel things about expanding bodies and this doesn’t magically disappear when our bods set to work growing a baby. So let us tell you this, mama: you look amazing.
What week does a pregnant belly show?
While there is no fixed rule for pregnant bellies month by month, there are some rough guidelines that can give you some sort of map for your future bump.
Here’s a loose guide by trimester:
At this point in your pregnancy, your bump is a little shy. Chances are, you won’t see much of it at all until the end of this chapter. If you have a lot of muscle tone in your abdominal region, your bump might be even more timid.
So if you’re asking, Is it possible to be pregnant without a baby bump? The answer is yes, at this stage, but with a caveat. If you don’t start gaining weight down the line, it could cause complications, so keep your healthcare practitioner in the loop.
One super weird thing? In the first trimester, your pregnant belly may arrive and disappear like it’s playing a game with you. One day, bump. Next day, flat. This is, um, good ol’ gas. Often with some constipation thrown in. What fun. It may also be the cause of that low belly pain when pregnant.
Okay! Now that pregnant belly is getting a little more adventurous about bursting onto the scene. Your uterus is expanding and it wants to tell the world about it. This is the time to do that obligatory bump pic to share in your Bump Buddy group on Peanut.
Heads up: you may experience some pains in the second and third trimesters. These are likely due to growing pains as the ligaments stretch to make more room for baby-to-be.
This is also the time when it feels like everybody is out to touch your bump. Remember: consent operates as it always should. If you don’t want anyone to touch your pregnant belly, you have every right to tell them not to. You don’t owe it to anyone to become an exhibition entitled, how does a pregnant belly feel?
You’re in full swing now. Your bump has pretty much decided on its shape by now and is just growing from there. This might mean you’re carrying high or low, and/or wide. Remember: there is no wrong way for your body to do this. Your bump looks great!
When does the line on a pregnant belly appear?
If you’ve noticed a dark vertical line appear on your bump, that’s not aliens trying to make contact. It’s supposed to be there! It’s called the linea nigra (“black line” in Latin).
Like many things pregnancy, it’s the result of hormones. Their target in this arena? Your skin. You may have also noticed hyperpigmentation in other parts of your body, like on your cheeks and around your eyes.
It typically runs from your belly button to your groin area, like some kind of map for your baby when they want to get out. It gets darker as you get closer to your due date.
It’s somewhat of a badge of honor. Wear it with pride!
The now-famous quote by Glenn Marla, ‘there’s no wrong way to have a body’, gets into the corners of so many aspects of womanhood—and your bump is certainly one of them. Embrace the stretch marks! They’re a medal. Love the growth - no matter how big or small. It’s a sign that your world is expanding.