Finding out you’re pregnant is super exciting, and there are so many things to look forward to. Some things are exciting and cute (like your future newborn), while others are not so fun (like morning sickness).
One of the things that many expectant mothers wonder about is when their baby bump will start to show. Whether you’re excited about this big moment or you’re planning ahead for new clothes, you’ll want a better idea of when to expect your pregnant belly to reveal itself.
Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body. Baby bumps often require extra support. After all, there is a growing baby in there. When does your baby bump start showing?
Although we can help you roughly estimate when you’ll start showing, there are many factors that can affect the answer. Let’s take a look.
When Will I Start Showing?
You'll probably start tracking your baby's growth when you first find out that you’re pregnant. There are a lot of ways you can do this. There are apps that track the progress of your pregnancy week by week. You can also weigh yourself weekly to see how much your baby grows.
You probably won’t notice very much growth in the first trimester, at least baby bump-wise. You will probably see some weight gain, but baby bump progression isn't typically visible until you are at around 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
However, it is common to notice bloating in the first trimester, which is one of the early signs of pregnancy. A slightly bigger belly in the first trimester may also be a sign of constipation (or a very delicious meal).
Expectant mothers usually gain around five pounds or less of extra weight during their first trimester. However, in the second trimester, mothers will start to gain between one and two pounds of pregnancy weight per week. It seems like a lot, but remember that your baby is growing, and everything else is growing around it to make room.
As far as stages of pregnancy go, the second trimester is the sweet spot for baby bumps. They’re not so big that it’s difficult to get comfortable or move around when you sleep, but they’re still noticeable enough that you can get some cute pictures.
It’s also around this time that your baby will start moving. Eventually, you might see smaller bumps where your baby is pushing or kicking with an elbow or a foot.
In the third trimester, both you and the baby will be working to gain a lot of weight – which means it’s time to start getting ready for your baby to arrive.
Are There Any Factors That Affect When I Start Showing?
Every pregnant mom is different. Some mothers may start showing earlier than others, and there are many factors that go into when you show. This can change depending on different body builds, different lifestyles, or even different baby preferences.
Here are the main things that affect when an expectant mother starts showing.
One of the things that can affect when you start to show is your body type. A wide range of potential differences can cause your baby bump to show up sooner or later.
For example, your baby bump might show up sooner if you’re on the shorter side. Shorter women also have a short midsection, meaning the baby has less space to grow initially. Because of this, your growing uterus and baby may push out instead of up.
Tall women have more space in their wombs for the baby to grow, so it may take longer for them to start showing. The baby bump also tends to be smaller since there’s more space.
Another factor may be weight. Slimmer women tend to show sooner than women with a little more body weight because the initial changes during pregnancy are so subtle.
You’ll still end up with a baby bump. It just might take a little longer to show up.
First Pregnancy or Later Pregnancy
Another potential factor is how many times you’ve been pregnant previously. Before her first pregnancy, a woman’s muscles in her uterus and abdomen are tighter, so it may take longer for your growing baby to stretch them out.
After your first baby, your uterus probably won’t return to the same size that it was previously.
Suppose you’re on your second pregnancy or even your third pregnancy. In that case, your stomach muscles are already stretched out, so your baby bump will usually show sooner than it did during the previous pregnancy.
Subsequent pregnancies can even start to show three to four weeks earlier than your first.
How Many Babies?
One of the most obvious reasons a baby bump may show sooner rather than later is the number of babies you have growing in your womb. The more babies you have, the more space they need to grow.
If you only have one baby, your baby bump will show up later than if you have two. Multiples take up more space, so the baby bump will show up sooner.
Position of the Baby
Another reason your baby bump will show up sooner rather than later is how the baby is positioned. Your uterus can tilt back towards the spine or forward, determining when the baby bump will show.
If your uterus tilts towards your spine, you’ll probably start showing a little later. However, a uterus that’s tilted forward will tend to protrude a little bit, showing a small baby bump sooner into early pregnancy.
Your baby bump will also end up being bigger since your baby is already tilted forward.
Strength of the Abdomen
As we mentioned earlier, your abdominal muscles are tight before your first pregnancy, so the baby bump will take longer to show. However, even if it’s your first pregnancy, there can be varying degrees of abdominal strength, which can affect when your baby bump will show.
If you have a strong core, it will take longer for a baby bump to show. A strong abdomen can hold the baby in longer because the muscles won’t stretch as easily. If your abdominal muscles are loose, your baby bump will start showing sooner.
Basically, the amount you exercise can determine when your baby bump will show or not. Although exercise can be good for you even while you are pregnant, you should ask your ob/GYN for advice on the best exercises for pregnant women.
When Will I Need To Get Maternity Clothes?
One of the reasons that many pregnant mothers are curious about when they’ll start showing is so they can figure out when they will need maternity clothes. Maternity clothes can be expensive, and since you won’t need them for very long, you might be trying to figure out ways to limit how many maternity clothes you purchase.
Since your baby bump shouldn’t show up until the second trimester, for the first trimester, you should be fine wearing your old clothes. Some women can get away with wearing pre-pregnancy clothing until they are five months pregnant, which is around 20 weeks.
However, if you prefer to wear form-fitting clothes, you may need some baggier outfits once you start showing. Depending on how form-fitting the clothes are, they may still be semi-comfortable — but you might stretch them out a little bit, so it’s up to you.
Once you reach the five-month mark, you may want to start looking for some new outfits. You might also want to find ways to support your baby bump, like a belly band. These accessories can help to ease lower back pain and can be used to keep pants up.
However, depending on the person, you may need to find new bras sooner than the five-month mark. Along with a growing baby bump, your breasts will also likely grow. Usually, you will need these new bras for longer than you will need maternity clothes, especially if you decide to breastfeed.
Exciting Moments During Your Pregnancy
Whether you’re a first-time mom or an experienced mom, finding out that you're pregnant is a beautiful moment, with many more wonderful moments to follow. One of the many exciting parts of pregnancy is when your baby bump starts to show.
Although it will take a few months, seeing a baby bump is a sign that your little one is getting bigger. It’s a mile marker. There are still a few months to go until the due date, but it means that you’re that much closer to meeting your baby face-to-face.
Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy, but when those changes become noticeable depends on the person. Many different factors can affect when your baby bump starts showing, including your body type and whether you’re having one baby or twins.
Once your baby bump begins to show, the next big moment is feeling your little one begin to move around. Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time with plenty of exciting chapters ahead.