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Pregnant Belly Expansion: What Should You Expect?

2 years ago4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Getting a belly is a part of being pregnant. Maybe you’ve got a plan to take photos of your stomach every week. Or maybe the whole process is uncomfortable, and you find it weird to have people staring at your belly in public.

Pregnant Belly Expansion

Either way, your baby belly makes the whole pregnancy thing seem very real. Whether you’re interested in the science behind pregnant belly expansion or just want to feel like you’re not on your own, let’s look at that pregnancy belly and find out what you can expect.

In this article: 📝

  • When does your stomach get big during pregnancy?
  • Will my pregnant belly grow every week?
  • What trimester does your belly grow the most?
  • Why is my pregnant belly growing so fast?
  • When will your baby bump disappear after delivery?

When does your stomach get big during pregnancy?

How quickly your tummy grows and what size your pregnant belly will be is affected by your build, how much weight you gain, and the types of food that you’re craving. Add in the fact that babies are all different sizes at birth and you totally dispel any myths about how your pregnancy belly should look.

Every belly is different, and there’s no need to worry if you’re a different size than your friend.

In the first weeks, you won’t notice much change, especially if this is your first pregnancy. If you do feel like your jeans are tight, it’s more likely to be because of bloating, retained water, or trapped gas. Early pregnancy is pretty glamorous.

Between 10 and 16 weeks, even first-time mamas should notice some pregnant belly expansion. Before 10 weeks, your uterus is small enough to nestle down inside your pelvis but, at this time, your baby is so big that everything starts to move up and into your abdomen. The area above your pubic bone is the first part of your stomach to get hard when you’re pregnant.

Will my pregnant belly grow every week?

Once your belly has “popped,” you’ll be able to see yourself getting bigger week by week.

From 20 weeks onwards, your doctor will measure the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your bump at every appointment. It’s called the fundal height, and it’s a measurement that doctors use to check that your baby is growing at the right rate. The fundal height should increase by about a centimeter every week.

What trimester does your belly grow the most?

Your body will change a lot during pregnancy, but when you hit the second trimester you’ll see your pregnancy belly growing more. This is the time when the baby’s length increases the most.

This being said, don’t panic if you get to your third trimester and you don’t feel like you’re seeing much change. The size of your belly also has to do with the amount of amniotic fluid you have, how your baby is lying, and how your uterus is positioned.

Your doctor will check up on your baby by weighing you and analyzing your ultrasounds, not just by looking at your silhouette.

Why is my pregnant belly growing so fast?

As well as your baby’s increasing length, other factors can cause rapid pregnant belly growth:

  • Due date discrepancy: If you’re showing early, you might be further along than you thought.

  • Pre-pregnancy weight: Women who were overweight before conceiving will often have a larger bump.

  • Second pregnancy: If it’s not your first time at the rodeo, your abdominal muscles have already been stretched and it’s harder for your body to hide a baby.

  • Multiple babies: More babies take up more space.

  • Bloating: Babies tend to squash your other organs out of the way as they grow, which isn’t great for your digestion. A tummy full of gas feels like a balloon and looks bigger from the outside too.

When will your baby bump disappear after delivery?

Pregnancy affects almost every part of your body and it takes time for everything to return to its pre-pregnancy size and position.

About six weeks postpartum, your uterus is roughly back to the size it was before you got pregnant (which is about the size of an orange). If you had a c-section, there may be swelling around the scar or a bit of loose skin (aka c-section pooch) at the bottom of your belly.

Even after your uterus has shrunk, you may still feel that you look bigger than you were before you got pregnant.

Loss of muscle tone, stretched skin, and the weight that you’re supposed to gain during pregnancy all play a role.

Give yourself time to recover.

Pregnancy and birth are hard – and you’ve got a lot on your plate looking after a tiny person.

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