When Do You Start Showing

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When Does Your Baby Bump Start to Show?

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You’re expecting — and you couldn’t be more excited. Your symptoms are impossible to ignore — especially the morning sickness — but you may have questions about when your pregnancy status will become obvious to everyone else.

The good news if you’re not quite ready to announce your pregnancy to the world is that it’ll be a while before you start showing — but you might not have as much time as you think. Every body is different, and so is every pregnancy.

Let’s take a closer look at the bump timeline and factors that can contribute to when you’ll notice a growing belly in pregnancy.

It might come as a surprise, but the number of pregnancies you’ve had can affect how early you start showing.

Typically, though, you won’t have a baby bump in your first trimester — especially if it’s your first pregnancy. You’ll likely notice the first signs of a bump early in the second trimester, between weeks 12 and 16.

You might start showing closer to 12 weeks if you are a person of lower weight with a smaller midsection, and closer to 16 weeks if you’re a person with more weight.

If you’ve been pregnant before, don’t be surprised if you start showing earlier. Actually, it’s not uncommon to develop a baby bump in the first trimester after your first pregnancy.

A previous pregnancy can stretch your stomach muscles, and sometimes, these muscles don’t return to their original size. Because of this change, a baby bump might appear earlier.

If you’re expecting twins or higher-order multiples, you could also possibly start to show before the end of your first trimester. Your uterus must grow larger to accommodate more than one baby. So whereas someone expecting a singleton may not show until after 3 or 4 months, you might show as early as 6 weeks.

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or your second pregnancy, you may feel that you’re showing much sooner than other people you know. Maybe you’re putting on weight around 6 to 8 weeks — which in your mind is quite early.

One plausible explanation for an early bump, though, could be abdominal bloating. An increase in hormones can cause your body to retain fluid. So what you believe to be all baby bump may actually be a bloated stomach. Drinking plenty of water, eating more fiber, and eating smaller meals might curb bloating.

Also, the shape of your uterus affects how soon you start showing. If your uterus tilts toward your back, it could take longer to show during those early months of pregnancy. And if your uterus tilts towards the front, you may show much earlier.

Diastasis recti is another possible explanation for showing early. This is when the mid-abdominal muscles separate and create a bulge. This bulge can give the appearance of an early baby bump.

Keep in mind that body weight also determines when a baby bump appears. Someone with a smaller waistline will likely show sooner.

And finally, you may appear to show early if you received an incorrect due date. If you’re concerned that you’re getting too much of a bump too fast, talk with your doctor. You might be further along in your pregnancy than you realize.

Baby bump progression also varies from person to person. As a general timeline, though, your baby will be about the size of a lemon at 12 weeks. Your uterus gets bigger to accommodate, so you’ll start to notice a small bump, although it may not be evident to others.

As you approach week 16, your baby might be as big as an avocado. And by weeks 20 (banana) and 24 (cantaloupe), you’ll likely notice real changes.

Once you enter your third trimester at 28 weeks, your baby will be the size of an eggplant, and the size of a pineapple at week 35. When your due date approaches, your baby can be as big as a watermelon! Keeping in mind that your body is also holding amniotic fluid and extra fat needed to nourish baby, by this point you’ll likely have a very full-looking belly.

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Are you ready to show off your baby bump — or do you want to hide it a little longer? Either way, here are a few tips and tricks to adjust to your changing body.

Hiding the bump

You might start showing well before you’re ready to make an announcement. To keep your special news a secret longer, you best bet at this point is to wear loose-fitting clothes, especially dresses, blouses, and shirts that don’t hug your belly.

You can also wear jackets or sweaters when around people. The thickness of the material can help conceal a growing bump.

Dealing with the awkward in-between stage

As your baby bump grows, you may hit an awkward stage. And if you’re at that stage where you don’t fit maternity pants yet, but your regular pants don’t fit either, use a ponytail holder or rubber band at the button and loop closure to give yourself a little more room in your pants.

Here’s what to do: Leave the top button of your pants (or jeans) unhooked. Loop one end of the ponytail holder around the button, and then feed the other end through the hole on the other side of the pants.

After pulling the other end through the hole, loop it around the button too. This way, you can comfortably wear your regular pants for at least a few more weeks. Just wear a long shirt to conceal the fact that you didn’t button your pants.

Another option is to leave your pants unbuttoned and place a belly band around the waistband.

As you get bigger, sleeping and bending over can become uncomfortable, too. When bending over, grab hold of a chair or table to support yourself, and then squat with your knees. This makes it easier to pick up items, and you avoid falling backwards.

If sleeping becomes a problem, try sleeping on your side with a pregnancy pillow. These pillows are soft and curved shape, and can help relieve pain and support a growing bump.

Feeling body positive about a growing bump

As excited as you are, a growing baby bump might also make you feel self-conscious. Here are a few tips to boost your confidence:

  • Don’t weigh yourself. If you’re self-conscious about your weight, constantly weighing yourself can make you feel worse. Fight the urge to get on the scale. If you’re tempted, get rid of it. Regular weigh-ins at your OB-GYN’s office will inform your doctor all’s on track — and you don’t have to know the number, if you don’t want to!
  • Don’t neglect maternity fashion. Let’s be honest: We often feel good when we look good. So rather than settle on a maternity style consisting of old baggy jeans and old, worn out T-shirts, treat yourself to some chic, yet affordable maternity clothes. Embrace your baby bump and your inner fashionista.
  • Get your hair and makeup done. Along with embracing maternity fashion, you might feel better with a little pampering. Treat yourself and your beautiful pregnancy hair (which often becomes thicker during this time) to a professional styling and show off that pregnancy glow!
  • Believe others when they say you’re beautiful. These aren’t pity compliments. So even if you don’t feel the prettiest, believe those who say otherwise.
  • Exercise.Working out isn’t only an energy booster and a bloat blaster — it can also release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. This can improve your mental outlook, increase your confidence, and help you feel better about your changing body. (Not to mention, appropriate exercise is healthy for you and baby during pregnancy.)

Be aware that at some point during your pregnancy, others might touch your belly without an invitation, including strangers.

You might not take issue with family touching your growing baby bump. But to discourage others, hold a large purse or a jacket directly in front of your stomach. With your stomach covered, they might be less inclined to reach for it.

Or if you suspect that someone is about to touch your belly, discreetly step back a few feet, or turn your body away from them. If this doesn’t work, there’s nothing wrong with being honest and saying you’re uncomfortable being touched.

Even though every woman is different, you might have concerns if you’re not showing yet. Understandably, you want to have a healthy baby and pregnancy. But showing a little later doesn’t typically indicate a problem.

It’s also possible that you simply have a smaller baby, although still healthy. If you have any concerns, though, speak with your doctor.

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Going from no baby bump to a large belly can be exciting, but a bit awkward at times. The important thing to remember is that everyone starts to show at different times. Bumps can develop later with a first pregnancy, and earlier with a second pregnancy or if you’re expecting twins.

If you have any concerns about bump progression, see your doctor. And enjoy your changing body — as many parents will tell you, this is a special time that in hindsight, goes by so fast.

For more pregnancy guidance and weekly tips tailored to your due date, sign up for our I’m Expecting newsletter.

Last medically reviewed on January 13, 2020

When will my pregnancy start to show?

Amy Cassell

If it’s your first pregnancy, or even if it isn’t, you may be wondering when your bloated belly will turn into a baby bump, and your pregnancy will start to show. The short answer: It can be different for everyone, for a number of reasons.

When do you start showing in pregnancy?

First-time moms usually start showing sometime between 12 and 18 weeks. In a BabyCenter poll, most women expecting their first child said they started to show between 12 and 18 weeks, very closely followed by those who said that their bump emerged between 18 and 24 weeks.

Every woman and every baby bump is different, and there isn’t an exact time when you’ll start “showing,” which is what happens when your growing uterus begins to expand above the pubic bone. This usually starts when you’re around 12 weeks pregnant; before then, the uterus remains within the pelvis and isn’t usually visible.

Even at 12 weeks of pregnancy, any “bump” you start to see in your abdomen is really just your bowels that used to be in your pelvis, now being pushed up higher in your belly. “Showing” starts as your abdomen looks fuller and you find yourself needing to unbutton your pants by the end of the day. From there, a distinctly uterus-shaped bump will appear in another few weeks or so.

Several factors play a part in how and when you start showing:

  • Your body shape and size. Shorter women may start showing earlier than tall women, and thinner women may see a distinct baby bump before plus-size women do.
  • Your core muscles. Women with weak core muscles may start showing earlier than those with a stronger core.
  • The position of your uterus.
  • Whether not this is your first pregnancy. Moms who’ve already been pregnant often start showing with their second pregnancy sooner, since their uterine and abdominal muscles have been stretched from an earlier pregnancy.

Sometimes, you might think you’re already showing early on in the first trimester, but it’s more than likely just pregnancy bloating, a swelling that can make your pants fit tighter. Bloating is one of the early signs of pregnancy, along with gas and constipation.

Should I be worried if I haven’t started showing yet?

If you haven’t started showing and feel like you don’t look pregnant yet, don’t fret. There are a number of completely normal factors that may be contributing to how pregnant you look. Showing late doesn’t automatically mean that your baby is too small. In the second trimester, your ob-gyn or midwife will start monitoring your fundal height to track your baby’s growth, and if there’s any reason for concern, they’ll do an ultrasound to check on the progress. Babies who are smaller than expected for their gestational age will get frequent monitoring to make sure they’re doing well.

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BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

American Academy of Family Physicians. 2021. Changes in your body during pregnancy: First trimester. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/your-body/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-first-trimester.html [Accessed November 2021]

American Academy of Family Physicians. 2021. Changes in your body during pregnancy: Second trimester. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/your-body/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-second-trimester.html [Accessed November 2021]

Office on Women’s Health. 2019. Stages of pregnancy. https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy [Accessed November 2021]

Stanford Children’s Hospital. Undated. Small for gestational age. http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=small-for-gestational-age-90-P02411 [Accessed November 2021]

UpToDate. 2015. Prenatal assessment of gestational age and estimated date of delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/prenatal-assessment-of-gestational-age-and-estimated-date-of-delivery [Accessed November 2021]

Amy Cassell

Amy Cassell was a senior editor at BabyCenter, the world’s number one digital parenting resource, where she wrote and edited wellness and lifestyle content about pregnancy and parenting. She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter – and when she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her exploring with her family, at a brewery with friends, or on the couch with a book.

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Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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