Congratulations on your pregnancy! Your baby is growing, and soon you’ll see your pregnant belly growing too.

From a little baby bump to a basketball, all pregnant bellies come in different shapes and sizes. Don’t get caught comparing bellies! Every woman is shaped differently, so pregnant bellies will look different across the board.

But even so, how do you know if your belly is too big or too small and what it can mean? In this article, Mustela’s baby experts will show you what you can expect throughout the different stages of pregnancy.

When Will I Start To Show?

expecting mom holding pregnant belly

You shared your exciting news with family and friends, and now you're just waiting for your belly to make the announcement to the rest of the world!

The size of your pregnant belly and when it appears depends more on you than it does on the size of your baby. These factors play a role in your growing belly:

  • Body shape
  • Bone structure
  • Muscle tone
  • Number of previous pregnancies
  • Height
  • Weight

Keep these pre-pregnancy factors in mind when you’re carrying your baby, and don’t judge a baby by its cover! Just because you’re not as big or small as other pregnant moms doesn’t necessarily mean your baby isn’t growing at the right speed.

Another thing to remember is that if you’re carrying multiples, you will most likely start to show sooner and your belly will expand bigger and faster than a woman who’s carrying one baby.

(Note: If you do have concerns about your size, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. It’s better to be overcautious than to dismiss a potential problem.)

Pregnant Belly: First Trimester (Weeks 1 to 12)

newly expecting mom checking her pregnant belly out

You may not notice much of a change in the size and shape of your belly, but you’ll sure feel like you’re pregnant even if you’re not showing yet!

Even though your belly isn’t stretching out quite yet, it’s the prime time to begin using Mustela’s Stretch Marks Cream. It’s never too early to start hydrating your skin to help prevent the appearance of stretch marks.

Size And Shape

For some women, their belly doesn’t change much during the first trimester. Your belly may look a little rounder, but that’s most likely due to bloating more than it is a growing baby.

However, by the end of the first trimester, you and your significant other may be the first ones to notice a little bump!

What To Expect

Expect your clothes to feel a little tighter by the end of this trimester. Your clothes become snug during this time because your uterus is now the size of a large grapefruit.

But there’s no need to buy maternity clothes just yet — unless you’re too excited to wait, which we totally understand!

Check-Ups

During your first trimester check-ups, you can expect your doctor to look at the following in regard to your pregnant belly:

  • Your weight
  • The size of your uterus

Come-And-Go Belly

It’s the strangest thing. One day you look like you’re pregnant and the next day your belly is completely flat. Just as quickly as your belly appears, it disappears.

You might be thinking, “What’s up with that?”. This is due in part to bowel distention (the result of constipation and excess gas: your new companions in the first trimester).

The good news is that many women find relief after the first trimester when their digestive system somewhat levels out and adjusts to their new pregnancy hormones.

Pregnant Belly: Second Trimester (Weeks 12 to 27)

woman in second trimester holding her pregnant belly

This trimester is when the majority of women feel the most comfortable. The first trimester symptoms usually ease up or disappear at this point, and you’re not so big yet that it’s uncomfortable to move around.

Often, this is the time when you really get to enjoy your pregnancy!

Size And Shape

By the end of your second trimester, your belly will really reveal itself. Your uterus is now the size of a basketball, and it might even look like that’s what you’re carrying in your belly!

There’s an old wives’ tale about the shape of your belly and the gender of your baby. It claims that if your shape resembles a basketball, then you’re having a boy, but if your shape resembles a watermelon, then you’re having a girl.

Realistically, your shape has more to do with your body than it does with your baby’s gender. Of course, family and friends will have fun guessing in the meantime!

What To Expect

Feeling your baby move and pain on the lower sides of your abdomen (better known as round ligament pain) are a couple of symptoms you can expect to experience during your second trimester.

Round ligament pain is the equivalent of growing pains. It happens because the muscles and ligaments supporting your growing uterus are stretching.

Another symptom you can look for during the second trimester is the belly itch. Pregnant bellies can easily become itchy bellies.

This is because as your belly grows, your skin stretches — and at a rapid pace — leaving your skin moisture-deprived. But it doesn’t have to be.

Use Mustela’s Stretch Marks Cream, Body Firming Gel, and Stretch Marks Oil to create the perfect day and night skin care regimen to keep your skin moisturized, smooth, and healthy throughout your pregnancy.

(Note: If you develop a rash on your belly, check in with your obstetrician.)

Doctor’s Visits

During your second-trimester doctor’s appointments, expect your doctor to check the following:

  • The gender of your baby (an ultrasound will be performed if one hasn’t already been done)
  • Your weight
  • The fundal height (distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus, measured in centimeters; this measurement often matches the number of weeks you’ve been pregnant)
  • The size of your uterus
  • The position of your baby

Unwanted Belly Touches

Just like a cute baby, pregnant bellies are hard to resist. Touching a pregnant belly can be an irresistible impulse for some people. So, you can expect a bit of stomach-touching from loved ones — and even strangers — when you start to show.

While some women don’t mind a little belly pat here or there, others find it invasive. If you aren’t comfortable with someone touching your baby bump, don’t hesitate to set boundaries.

Pregnant Belly: Third Trimester (Weeks 28 to 40)

toddler hugging moms pregnant belly

You’re in the home stretch and your belly is probably feeling the effects of it! Grow baby, grow! Your excitement and anticipation are at their peak, along with the size of your belly.

Size And Shape

Your uterus is right under your ribs now. Your weight gain will slow down in the last few weeks of pregnancy leading up to delivery. Your belly skin is stretched to the limit, or so it feels.

During this stage, women find themselves carrying high, low, or wide. And you may not even notice a change in the shape of your belly. It may just look bigger!

What To Expect

You’ll likely experience a lot of changes during the last several weeks of your pregnancy. There’s not much room in your belly anymore, so your baby is pushing against your lungs and bladder.

With the position of your uterus during the third trimester, expect to have some shortness of breath and more bathroom visits (if that’s even possible!).

Doctor’s Visits

During your third-trimester check-ups, your doctor will look at the following things:

  • Your weight
  • The fundal height
  • The size of your baby
  • The position of your baby
  • The presentation of your baby

A Beautiful Pregnancy Starts With Healthy Skin

woman in third trimester holding pregnant belly

The size and shape of your belly aren’t nearly as important as maintaining a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy. Remember, several factors play a role in the size and shape of your belly! But, if you are concerned, contact your doctor with any questions.

While embracing your pregnant belly, don’t forget to take care of it! Apply Mustela’s Stretch Marks Oil when you need something that will quickly absorb into your skin to hydrate and help decrease the appearance of stretch marks.

And that’s just one of our many maternity products that you can choose from! Our skin care line works to decrease the appearance of stretch marks, reduce skin discomfort, and protect against the loss of firmness and elasticity.

You’ll have lasting comfort for nine months and beyond!