There is nothing that sparks more debate during pregnancy than the size of your baby bump. From the moment you start to notice that tell-tale bulge when your pants get a bit tight, all the way through to the third trimester when you’re (not so) patiently waiting for your baby to arrive; everyone, even complete strangers feel the need to comment on the size of your bump – in both extremes!
As a Mom to be, it can be a bit disconcerting when people start to pass comment – with responses ranging from “Wow you’re showing early” (a brave move!) to “Gosh you’re huge” “Are you sure it’s not twins?!” and “You’re ready to pop”. Most Moms to be can simply take these comments on the chin, making a joke in response about “eating for two” and batting them off with laughter. On the other extreme however, having a smaller bump can also lead to some unhelpful comments – things such as “Wow your bump is so tiny!” and “You don’t even look pregnant”.
While many of these comments are said with the best of intentions, what people fail to realise is that these comments about someone’s pregnancy can actually cause a lot of anxiety and concern over whether the baby is growing properly, the impending labour and the health of their unborn child.
Despite what people may say, it’s important to remember that every body and every pregnancy is different and the size of your bump will depend on many different factors and not purely genetics. Put two pregnant women side by side at the same stage of their pregnancy and the bump size can vary quite dramatically, with factors such as the Mom’s pre pregnancy weight and fitness, and the number of previous pregnancies also having an impact on bump size.
First time Mom?
For first pregnancies, the bump can take a little longer to be visible, with many first time Moms not starting to show until after their 12th or 16th week of pregnancy. Many are thankful for this, as it allows them to keep their pregnancy a secret for longer. For second or third time Moms, your uterus and abdominal muscles know what to do, having stretched out before to adapt to a growing baby and a result, it’s not uncommon for Moms to start showing just weeks after their positive pregnancy test. With my first child, I was around 14 weeks when I started to notice a bump, however with my second child, I had a noticeable bump at just 6 weeks pregnant! I wasn’t able to hide it for long!
Physical fitness levels
If you are very physically active and toned, you are likely to have stronger abdominal muscles and a stronger core, meaning that your bump may be less prominent or obvious than other pregnancies.
In 2017, fitness blogger and model Sarah Stage went viral after she shared a photo on Instagram of her 8 months pregnant bump, and despite many comments saying that her bump size “wasn’t healthy” and questioning whether she was even pregnant at all, she later gave birth to a perfectly healthy and adorable baby boy.
The position of your uterus, the positioning of your baby inside, and the location of your placenta, can also all have a big impact on how noticeable your bump is. Sometimes your bump can appear to change in size and shape almost daily, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy as your baby moves around in the womb and gets ready and engaged for labour.
Don’t be surprised if you have days where your bump looks much smaller than usual, it is likely that your baby has simply turned or moved in your uterus.
What if I am concerned my baby bump is too small?
If you are genuinely concerned about the size of your bump – speak to your medical team. You will be measured during all stages of your pregnancy to determine the size of your bump and estimated size of your baby. If there are any actual concerns regarding the size or health of your unborn child, you will be referred for additional growth scans which can get a more accurate measurement of the size, length and weight of your baby.
I personally had additional scans with my second pregnancy because my first baby had been small (despite being 2 weeks overdue). Despite these extra scans, and the fact that my second daughter was born at a similar weight to her sister, she was completely healthy, and the extra monitoring was useful for providing additional piece of mind.
Overall, its important to remind yourself that every pregnancy is a new experience, and just because one pregnancy had no morning sickness, a large bump and a baby who was born with a head full of hair, doesn’t mean that your next one will be the same.
How big was your bump during pregnancy?