When will I start to look pregnant?

At what point in your pregnancy will your bump start to show? And why do some pregnant women 'show' earlier than others?

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You’ve done the test (probably more than once!). You got the sore breasts, the bone-crushing tiredness and the waves of nausea. You may even have seen your GP and been booked in for your first scan. You definitely are pregnant – but when will you actually begin to look pregnant?

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When will my bump start to show?

We’re all of us quite different shapes and sizes (and in different states of physical fitness), so it’s impossible to pin a precise date when every pregnant woman will suddenly start sporting a noticeable little bump, but it is pretty certain that your uterus will begin to get noticeably bigger at some point around your 12th to 14th week of pregnancy.

At this stage, your bump may not be visible to the rest of the world but you will almost certainly be noticing – or feeling – your tummy expanding a bit. It could be that the top button on your jeans won’t do up so easily, or your usual go-to dress just doesn’t sit properly on your body any more. This is because, as your uterus is growing, it’s starting to rise above the level of your pelvis. Its slightly higher position and slightly bigger shape means that – unlike when you’ve simply overdone the donuts and your tummy’s overhanging your waistband – you’re starting to look a little fuller all round. 

But there probably won’t be much sign of an actual bump before 13 weeks – and in most cases, not much before 18 weeks.

There are certain factors which might affect how soon you begin to ‘show’ and look obviously pregnant:

  • You’ve already had a baby. If you’ve already given birth, then your uterine muscles will be less tight and you will probably look bigger more quickly.
  • Your pre-pregnancy figure. The noticeable arrival of your bump is affected by your physique. If you are tall and well-built, your body won’t necessarily show the beginnings of a bump until 3 or 4 weeks after a woman who is smaller and thinner.

Is my bump a normal size?

Very probably! Your pre-pregnancy height, bodyshape and muscle strength can all affect the size of your bump, as can the amount of weight we put on: some of us look huge quickly; some of us look more compact. That’s just how it is.

All that really matters is what your midwife or doctor says at your check-ups. If your pregnancy weight gain is round about normal, then you are unlikely to have anything to worry about: the professionals looking after you will keep an eye on your antenatal records to compare your pre-pregnancy weight with your size as your pregnancy progresses.

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