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Pregnant? Here's When Your Baby Bump May Start to Show

by Vannessa Rhoades 14 Feb 2023
Pregnant? Here's When Your Baby Bump May Start to Show

You’ve got a baby on board! It’s thrilling, overwhelming, and more than a little anxiety-inducing. While tender breasts and constant nausea may already make it feel obvious to you, you may be wondering when everyone else will start to notice you’re expecting. Fortunately, if you’re feeling a little hesitant about breaking the news to the world at large, you’ve got a while before you start showing. That said, you may not have as much time as you’re hoping for – every pregnancy and every person is unique. Let’s take a closer look at the bump chronology, as well as factors that can affect how soon your growing belly will be obvious.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Baby Bump

When does your baby bump show with a first pregnancy?

The number of prior pregnancies you’ve experienced can play a part in how quickly your bump starts showing. For most people, it won’t be obvious during the first trimester of a first pregnancy. You’ll typically begin to pop out a bit between weeks 12 and 16 (during the second trimester). If you’re on the small side, weight-wise, it may be closer to 12 weeks, whereas a larger person may show closer to 16 weeks.

When does your baby bump start to show with a second pregnancy?

If you’ve had a previous pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to start showing sooner due to weakened stomach muscles. You may start showing as early as the first trimester.

When does your baby bump start showing with twins?

For people pregnant with twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples, it’s also possible for the belly to start showing before the end of the first trimester. Because the womb must expand to fit multiple babies, it might be apparent as early as 6 weeks.

Why do some baby bumps appear earlier?

Some people feel that their bump is showing much earlier than other people’s or far sooner than they would have expected. One reason may be due to abdominal bloating. Hormonal surges can cause fluid retention – meaning, an early bump may just be a bloated tummy. Adding more fiber to your diet, staying hydrated, and enjoying smaller meals may help alleviate bloating. A short stroll after meals may help as well.

Diastasis recti may cause your bump to show early as well. In this condition, the mid-abdominal muscles come apart and create a bulge that may look like a baby bump.

The position of your womb can also affect how quickly your pregnancy starts to show. An anteverted uterus (tilts toward your back) could take longer to show during the early months of pregnancy. A uterus that tilts towards the front may show much sooner.

Keep in mind that it’s also possible that you received an incorrect due date. If you’re worried that your bump is too far along, consult your healthcare provider. Your pregnancy may be more advanced than you initially thought.

Take a look at the Medela Breastfeeding Maternity and Nursing Tank Top. It has a non-wire design that’s extra soft and stretchy, providing maximum comfort and support. For nursing, the “open-and-close” clips and full drop cups are easy to unhook and reattach during breastfeeding, with extra assurance to remain in place when needed.

Tips for Dealing with Your Bump 

If you’re not quite ready to announce your big news, it’s probably safest to wear clothing that doesn’t hug your belly, particularly blouses, shirts, and dresses. Wearing a jacket, sweater, or thicker fabrics may help camouflage the bump.

At some point you’ll also hit an uncomfortable in-between phase: you’ve outgrown your regular pants, but aren’t quite ready for maternity pants either. One handy trick is to leave your regular pants unbuttoned, then loop one end of a hair elastic around the button and through the buttonhole on the other side of your pants. This will give you a little more breathing room until you’re ready for maternity wear. You can also simply opt to leave your pants unbuttoned and wear a maternity belt around the waistband.

We love the Medela Maternity Support Belt. It’s comfortable and easy to wear. The lightweight, breathable material secures with an easy hook and loop fastener closure. We also like how discreet it is – so smooth it’s practically invisible under clothing! This belt is an excellent choice to provide the extra abdominal support and control needed before and after delivery.

When Should I Start Wearing Maternity Clothes?

Each and every body is different. Not only that, every pregnancy (even for the same person) is different. When you start wearing maternity clothes is entirely up to you. Moms-to-be start wearing different pieces at different points in their pregnancies, but here are a few signs that it’s time to start stocking up on maternity wear:

  • You’re keeping your pants unbuttoned more often than not.
  • You feel puffy and bloated all the time.
  • Your tummy is poking out from beneath the bottom of your T-shirts.
  • The buttons have popped off your button-down blouses.
  • Stretchy material is your favorite new fashion statement.

Wearing constricting garments during pregnancy is generally not advised. Aside from feeling awkward or even painful, tight clothing also can lead to a variety of health issues, like reduced blood circulation and yeast infections. If your clothes are beginning to feel snug, it may be time to invest in some maternity wear.

Tips for Handling People Who Want to Touch the Bump

Understand that as your belly grows, you’ll inevitably encounter others who try to touch your stomach without permission, including people you don’t know. While you might not be bothered by a friend or family member touching you, it can be especially awkward and uncomfortable when a stranger does it. Hold a coat or purse in front of your belly to deter contact. Keeping covered may dissuade them from trying. If you notice someone about to reach out, turn your body or take a step back. If they still don’t get the message, it’s absolutely okay to speak up and let them know you’re not comfortable with being touched.

The Takeaway

By week 20, your doctor will begin measuring your fundal length — the distance between the pubic bone and the top of the uterus. Generally, this number should correlate with your week of pregnancy. So, for instance, if your fundal length is 30 centimeters, you should be in or near your 30th week of pregnancy. A fundal length that is too high or too low could indicate growth issues with the baby. This is why it’s essential to keep all scheduled prenatal health appointments. 

Remember, every pregnancy and every person is different. Some people have larger or smaller babies that are perfectly healthy. The shape and position of the uterus, whether you’ve had previous pregnancies, the number of babies you’re carrying, and the size of your frame can all factor into how much and how quickly your belly will show. Comparing yourself to others or listening to their negative feedback will only fuel your anxiety. Trust your healthcare provider’s guidance when it comes to the health of your pregnancy. In the meantime, try to appreciate your evolving body – it’s an amazing stage of life that goes by quickly!

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