While you’ll notice a change in your breasts, the urge to chow down on pickle ice cream, and maybe even a heightened sense of smell, to everyone else, the most obvious clue that you’re expecting a small bundle is — you guessed it — your pregnant belly.
Of course, pregnant bellies come in all shapes and sizes — but you probably still have questions.
- When will you start to show?
- Should you be concerned about the size of your tummy?
- What factors affect the size and shape?
- When will you actually start to show?
Whether you’re chomping at the bit to start growing a bump or would prefer to keep it on the down-low until you’re further along, we’ve got you covered — read on to discover when you may anticipate this exciting milestone of pregnancy.
When Do Pregnant Women Start Showing in Pregnancy?
As your sweet baby grows, your uterus also grows, pushing other organs up and out. Initially, these changes are pretty subtle and not typically enough to draw attention to the fact that you’re expecting. But you may look bloated. How bloated?
Like, one-too-many-slices-of-cheese-pizza bloated.
This happens because your uterus — normally tucked nicely and snug inside your pelvis — will pop out above your pelvis. More often than not, this happens in the second trimester, usually around 12 to 14 weeks.
At this time, your OB GYN or midwife will start measuring your “fundal height,” which is the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. This measurement is essential because it gives healthcare providers an estimate of your new family member’s growth.
So, when will you start to show, you ask?
Unfortunately, there’s no definite time when your baby bump will POP, but there are a few different factors that can come into play:
#1: Is This Your First Rodeo?
According to experts, many first-time moms develop a baby bump between 12 and 16 weeks, with a very noticeable bump appearing between 16 and 20 weeks.
Seasoned mamas, on the other hand, may start showing sooner rather than later because their uterus and abdominal muscles are already stretched from previous pregnancies.
#2: Are You Tall or Short?
This just boils down to physics. If you’re pint-sized and have a relatively small abdomen, there’s a good chance that your bump will pop out sooner than if you were tall with a more extended abdomen.
This is because tall women have more space for their uterus to grow upwards rather than outwards — which can give the appearance of a smaller baby bump.
#3: What’s Your Body Composition Like?
Pregnant women who are slim tend to show much earlier than those with a little extra weight or junk in the trunk.
That said, if you’re a slim woman with abs of steel, you might not notice a bump until the third trimester. This is because strong abdominal muscles can hide the uterus from plain view. In fact, some extremely fit pregnant women barely show even a couple of weeks before delivery.
#4: Got Multiple Buns in the Oven?
Okay, so this one should be pretty obvious. Still, just in case — a pregnant woman carrying twins, triplets, or other multiples will generally start showing much earlier than those carrying single babies. How much earlier, you ask? Up to six weeks earlier. That’s because your uterus will expand to create space for the extra fetus.
Note: Showing as early as six weeks isn’t necessarily a sign of a twin pregnancy, but if you already know that you have two tiny tots (or more) on the way, you may notice that your belly pops earlier too.
#5: The Position of Your Uterus Can Play a Role.
Believe it or not, the resting position of the uterus can also influence when a pregnancy becomes noticeable. Women with a retroverted uterus (one that tilts toward the back) may show later, whereas women with an anteverted uterus (one that slants forward) may show much earlier.
#6: You May Have Diastasis Recti.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus pushes against the abdominal muscles. Eventually, the two large bands of muscles meeting in the middle can become separated — this is a common condition called diastasis recti.
When this happens, a bulge tends to appear, giving the appearance of an early baby bump.
#7: Gas, Bloating, and Constipation (oh my!)
In the early weeks of pregnancy, your body will experience a major surge in hormones. As a result, your body may hold onto fluids, which can quickly cause digestion to slow down. This gives gas more time to build up, often leaving you to assume that your bloated belly is an emerging baby bump.
That said, being especially gassy and more bloated or constipated than usual is normal during pregnancy. Of course, this doesn’t make it feel any better, but rest easy knowing that you’re not alone.
What Should Baby Bump Progression Look Like?
Since every baby bump is unique, it’s impossible to provide an exact picture of what your belly will look like each week, but by 12 weeks pregnant — when women typically start to show — your tiny sprout will be roughly the size of a lemon.
By the time you approach week 16, your baby might be as big as an avocado — and probably getting harder to hide.
At 20 weeks (the halfway point), your little one will be about the size of a banana, and roughly four weeks later, you’ll be carrying a full-blown baby burrito around in your uterus. You’ll likely notice real changes at that point and be ready to show off your bump!
What’s the Best Way To Avoid Stretch Marks?
As your baby bump grows, that’s when the potential for getting stretch marks comes in. Stretch marks are mostly based on genetics, but there are some things you can do to minimize the chance of getting them.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), your best defense against stretch marks is to ensure that your skin maintains its maximum elasticity through pregnancy, which can be achieved by keeping your skin sufficiently hydrated and supple at all times.
How can you hydrate your skin? With 8 Sheep Organic’s Hydrating Belly Scrub! This ultra-hydrating sugar scrub gently exfoliates your bump and removes dead skin and dirt, leaving you with baby-bottom-soft and glowing skin.
After exfoliating your bump, follow up with our Helichrysum Belly Balm to boost collagen production and skin elasticity. This nutrient-rich balm is jam-packed with nourishing ingredients like Rosehip Seed Oil, Argan Oil, and Helichrysum Essential oil — each proven to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks and scarring.
What if You’re Not Showing and Feel Like You Should Be?
Don’t worry, mama — showing later doesn’t usually have anything to do with the baby’s size. As long as your healthcare provider says your pregnancy is healthy and on track, there’s no need to worry if you’re not showing yet at 12 to 16 weeks.
Remember, several factors can influence when your belly pops. It’s also possible that you simply just have a smaller baby. Of course, if you have questions or concerns, speak with your OB.
Again, there’s no way to know for sure when your baby bump will show since every pregnancy is different, but more often than not, pregnant women start showing between 12 and 16 weeks.
If you don’t start to show during your second trimester, though, there’s no need to panic as many different factors can contribute to when you might pop. Talk to your OB if you have any concerns.
No matter where you are in your pregnancy, 8 Sheep Organics has all the products you need as your baby bump grows — from hydrating belly scrubs to soothing lotions and more.