There isn’t a set time when moms-to-be starts to show a pregnant belly growth. Every lady is different. If you’re a first-time mother, you could begin developing a baby bump any time between 12 and 16 weeks. But if this isn’t your first child, you may start showing sooner. This is because the muscles in your uterus (womb) and tummy may already have been stretched from your last pregnancy. In the early periods of pregnancy, your uterus is the shape of pear fruit. Over the first 12 weeks, it gradually becomes more rounded until it is about the size and shape of a grapefruit. This is when your pregnancy belly growth may start to occur.
This early pregnancy belly growth and development are only partly caused by your developing baby. Before 11 weeks, your baby is still is in the embryonic stage. He doesn’t need much space yet! Instead, you may just feel a little bigger around the middle as your womb thickens out to support your tiny baby.
At 16 weeks of pregnancy, your womb will be stretching to fit your developing baby. This is when your pregnancy belly growth may really start to show. However, there are all sorts of various factors that may influence when you can start shopping for maternity (pregnancy) clothes.
Your age can influence when you start to appear pregnant. Older mothers often start showing earlier than younger mothers. This is because younger ladies are more likely to have stronger belly muscles, which can disguise their pregnancy belly growth.
Your genes can affect when you start to appear pregnant, too. Ask your mom, sister or other female relatives on your mom’s side when their pregnancy belly growth began to show. This may give you some idea of when your baby bump will appear.
Your size can also play a major role when you will start to look pregnant. If you are carrying a little extra weight around your belly, your pregnancy belly growth may be hidden in the early stages of pregnancy. But as your baby grows, you will soon notice a developing bump!
If your belly is enlarging sooner than expected, it could be due to:
- Your body laying down fat for your developing baby
- Retention of water
- Bloating due to wind
- Constipation, a common pregnancy belly growth problem
- Another possibility is that you may be pregnant with twin babies.
If you’re showing later than expected, try not to worry. You may have a retroverted womb. This means that your uterus bends more towards the back than the front. About 15 per cent of ladies have a retroverted uterus. This won’t affect how your baby grows and develops. The backward tilt is usually corrected as your expanding womb moves out of your pelvis and into your abdomen. If there’s any reason for concern about the size of your pregnancy belly growth, your doctor will arrange for an ultrasound scan to make sure you’ve been given the right due date.