It can be a really exciting moment to be able to announce your pregnancy and show off your bump. So, when do you start showing? And can it be different for different mamas-to-be?
In this article: 📝
- Can you show as early as 8 weeks?
- How your bump is measured during your pregnancy
- So, when do you start showing in pregnancy, and what factors impact how soon you show?
- When do you start showing with twins?
- Where does your baby bump start to show?
- What if you don’t feel you’re showing as you “should” be?
Can you show as early as 8 weeks?
Generally, most mamas-to-be won’t have a noticeable bump in the first trimester – so it’s normal to wonder if it’s bloating or a baby bump you see. And any growth in your mid-section in this time could indeed be down to bloating, as baby is still really tiny at this point, so any “bump” is less baby and more your body doing its thing to accommodate them.
It’s also likely that you’ll notice the changes in your body well before anyone else. You might notice that you feel “thicker”, that your waistbands are slightly more snug, or maybe you feel like you have a slight tummy after 6-8 weeks. But other people probably won’t notice any changes until around 12-16 weeks. This is especially true if this is your first pregnancy, because your stomach muscles are usually stronger than if you’ve been pregnant before.
If you have been pregnant before, then it isn’t surprising if you start showing before your second trimester. This is because your stomach muscles have been stretched already, and they seem to remember how to go back to being pregnant again.
It’s also possible that you experienced “separated stomach muscles” in your previous pregnancies, known as Diastasis Recti, and it can mean that the tummy muscles pull apart more easily, creating the impression of a bump sooner.
How your bump is measured during your pregnancy
From around 20 weeks, your doctor will measure your tummy at each appointment. This record is called fundal length (or fundal height), and it’s from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. It’s used as a rough guide to show how many weeks along you are, and works out at about 1cm per week – so if you measure 25cm, then you’re around 25 weeks along.
The medical pros can use this basic measurement to gauge if they need to do any further checks on your health or the baby’s growth. But they also use this info with caution, because it’s not perfect and various factors (e.g. if you’re carrying multiple babies) can change it.
So, when do you start showing in pregnancy, and what factors impact how soon you show?
Body type. Your body type might also influence how soon you show, so if you have a lower weight and smaller waist you might show nearer to 12 weeks, but if you carry more weight, have a longer torso, or have more curve to your hips, you might not see the bump “pop” until nearer 16 weeks.
Age. Generally, the older the mama-to-be, the greater the possibility of showing earlier. It comes back to those tummy muscles often being “weaker” as you age.
Your internal shape. What shape your uterus is may affect how soon you show, how it grows to accommodate the baby, and similarly which direction it tilts (backwards or forwards) means that you could take longer to show (if yours is tilted backwards).
When do you start showing with twins?
How many babies you are carrying will also affect how much your uterus needs to stretch, and mean that perhaps you show earlier – so if you’re expecting twins, triplets, quadruplets, or quintuplets, then you might show as early as 6 weeks.
Where does your baby bump start to show?
Usually, you’ll notice a slight swelling in the lower part of your tummy, which can look more like bloating at the start, but it will become firm and more pronounced as the pregnancy progresses. How your bump looks will be totally unique to you, as some mamas-to-be carry round and high (like a soccer ball) and others carry wider and lower.
What if you don’t feel you’re showing as you “should” be?
Showing a little later is not usually an indicator that there is a problem, but if you feel that your bump is showing much sooner than you expected, or that you’re bigger than you expected, then there’s a possibility that you’re further along in your pregnancy than you thought. So, seek reassurance from your OB if you have any concerns.
Remember every mama-to-be will show and carry their pregnancy a little differently. Try not to compare your bump with anyone else’s, or worry if anyone queries the size of your bump.
And if you want to chat with other mamas and share bump stories, why not connect with the mamas on Peanut.