Pregnant Belly Expansion: What Part Grows First?

Pregnant Belly Expansion: What Part Grows First?

Finding it weird and wonderful to watch your pregnancy belly expansion?

Here’s everything you need to know about your growing bump.

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.

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 some reassurance that 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?
  • How does the belly expand during pregnancy?
  • How long does it take for your stomach to expand when pregnant?
  • Will my pregnant belly grow every week?
  • What weeks does your belly grow the most?
  • What affects pregnant belly size?
  • What does pregnant belly expansion feel like?
  • 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.


How does the belly expand during pregnancy?

At first, you might notice a mini-bump growing quite low, by your pelvis.

Then, as baby gets bigger, they’ll slowly move upwards ‒ about halfway through your pregnancy, you’ll likely have a growing bump that… looks pregnant.

And as bump gets even bigger ‒ we’re talking third trimester bump bump, your organs will be shifting about inside to make room for baby, too.

How long does it take for your stomach to expand when pregnant?

It can happen quite quickly for some mamas, and can take longer for others.

While most moms-to-be tend to have a bump they’ll notice at about between weeks 12 to 16, other people may not notice it until about week 20 onwards.

And the speed at which your pregnancy belly expansion happens can vary, too ‒ some can see a bump appear almost overnight, while others take a little longer to look pregnant.

Top tip from our Peanut moms-to-be: if you find your growing bump is disrupting your sleep, try a pregnancy pillow.

We love this one by Sleepybelly ‒ it’s got a unique design that supports your bump, back, and hips; comes recommended by doulas, midwives, and osteopaths; and you can adjust it as your body changes during pregnancy.

What’s not to love?

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 weeks 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.

It’s different for every mama and every baby.

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

What affects pregnant belly size?

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.

What does pregnant belly expansion feel like?

Sorry to say, mama, that this pregnant belly expansion can feel… not so pleasant.

You may have round ligament pain from the growth, indigestion and heartburn from your organs shifting about inside, and itchy stretch marks from your skin stretching.

But many moms-to-be say that it feels… bigger.

Groundbreaking, we know.

But ‘bigger’ as in feeling full or tight around your midriff.

And some moms feel nothing like that ‒ we’re all different, after all!

And if you want some relief from the weight of carrying around a bump all day, a pregnancy support belt, like the top-rated one by Lola&Lykke can really take the pressure off.

Or if stretch marks are cropping up as your bump gets bigger and you want something to even things out, our Peanut mamas-to-be love the new Charlotte Tilbury Magic Body Cream.

That’s right, the viral Magic Cream has been reimagined for bodies, and it does wonders for reducing stretch marks ‒ not that there’s anything “wrong” with them, but if you want to minimize them, we can tell you it works.

In fact, when real women tried the Magic Body Cream over 8 weeks, they found their stretch marks appeared reduced by 57%.

That’s pretty amazing.

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 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.

You’ve got this, mama.

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