Hooray! You’re pregnant!
What now? What do you need to do? How soon should you share the news? When will you start showing? Do you need maternity clothes right away?
This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
General Timeline For Your Bump
Most women start to show in the second trimester. That means sometime in weeks 12-26.
The reason you start showing a bump is that your uterus has grown large enough to pop out from behind your pubic bone. At 12 weeks the baby is about the size of a lime and weighs half an ounce.
Picture an orange. That’s the size you uterus is normally. It’s tucked up all cozy deep in your pelvis. Now picture a lime inside the orange. Plus add a little water to slosh your lime around in. It’s getting to be a tight fit inside your pelvis. Your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit now. It may or may not fit inside your pelvis at all.
Before the second trimester is over your uterus has stretched to the size of a papaya. It’s pushed its way to the front of your body and is riding on top of your pubic bone. Ta-dah! Your baby bump has definitely arrived!!
In preparation for your bump arriving, you’re going to want to get belly bands. You want something to grab for that first morning when you can’t get your pants zipped.
What Affects When You Start to Show?
Pregnant women start showing sooner or later in their pregnancy for several reasons. There are no hard and fast rules. If your baby is growing normally, as measured by your doctor and an ultrasound, you have nothing to worry about.
1.) The Position Of Your Uterus
Pregnancy is all about the uterus doing its job. When you start showing can depend on where your uterus is positioned in your pelvis.
Some women have a posterior leaning uterus. That means your uterus tips back toward your spine. Since it has more space to move forward, your posterior leaning uterus causes you to show later.
Other women have a forward leaning uterus. It’s already up against the abdominal wall so it has less room to grow and remain unseen.
Neither uterine position has anything to do with your pregnancy and how it progresses. You may already know if it leans forward or back or neither from your annual exams.
2.) Your Height and Weight
Remember that your uterus has to go somewhere as it expands. There isn’t a ton of extra room in your abdomen.
If you are on the taller side, you probably have a longer torso. That means that there is more room for your internal organs to shift around before you run out of space. However, if you are on the shorter side, you don’t have as much torso or as much space for shifting organs. Shorter women tend to start showing sooner.
When it comes to weight, I always feel like I look 12 weeks pregnant. Thank you to my muffin top. I’d blame it on my daughter, but it was there before she came along. Extra weight around your middle will probably delay your actual bump from showing.
3.) Abdominal Muscle Strength
I have never had a six pack and never will.
My abdominal muscles were in okay shape when I got pregnant thanks to my weekly yoga class. Those abdominals are what hold your uterus up and in as the baby grows. There are women in my class who probably wouldn’t show until week 36 thanks to their amazing abs.
If you’ve had abdominal surgery or previous pregnancies your abdominal muscles aren’t as up to the job of holding up your uterus. That’s why women usually show sooner in second or third pregnancies than in their first. I’m guessing you show the day you conceive in a sixth or seventh pregnancy.
4.) Gas, Bloating, Constipation
The unholy trinity of pregnancy related gastrointestinal distress. You can expect to suffer all three throughout your pregnancy. Yippee.
In addition to making you uncomfortable, you may mistake a bloated stomach for an emerging baby bump. It’s all part of the fun and you go ahead and claim that inflated tummy as a baby bump if you want. No one but you will know anyway.
5.) Multiple Babies
The thought of twins or higher level multiples makes my head spin. And it stands to reason that pregnant women start showing a whole lot sooner if there is more than one baby filling out their uterus.
The other four factors I listed above still play a part in when you start showing, so don’t mistake an early bump for multiple babies.
Starting to Show
As with all things pregnancy related, there are no hard and fast rules. Every woman is different. Every pregnancy is different. Your body changes a lot during pregnancy and never goes back to the way it was before.
Another big factor in pregnancy is waiting. You have to wait to find out if you are pregnant. Then you wait to for morning sickness to end. (Here’s some tips on how to survive that). You wait to start showing, to find out gender, to feel the first kicks, for the dang kid to hurry up and get born!
In the end, of course, its worth all the waiting. Congrats Mamas. You’re pregnant!
- Time to dress the bump! Here’s my Simple Guide to Maternity Clothes Ideas.