The “baby bump” has attracted somewhat of an obsession in popular culture, with images of celebrity/influencer baby bumps becoming a common fixture of magazine covers and instagram feeds. The focus on the size and shape of pregnant bumps can be distressing for many women. The truth is that every pregnancy is different and there are a number of factors contributing to the size of a baby bump.

Firstly, there is no specific criterion for the size of your “bump” during pregnancy. It depends on a number of factors specific to the individual. Even experienced doctors and midwives struggle to guess how pregnant a woman is from the size of her abdomen alone. Only when she lies down and her stomach is examined (or palpated), can a correct judgement be made.

In many pregnant women, a bulging tummy is noticeable already at 12-16 weeks, while for others, pregnancy is barely noticeable even in the later stages. Why is this so? The height and weight of the mother is one important aspect. Women with an asthenic body type (tall and thin), for example, may appear to have a smaller baby bump. Another factor is the size and physiological growth of the baby and their position in the mother’s stomach. The strength of the mother’s abdominal muscles also plays a role, which is why women who are heavily engaged in sports may also appear to carry a smaller bump. Twins or higher order pregnancies will also obviously lead to a larger belly than a singleton pregnancy. 

Most of these factors are outside of your control, so you shouldn’t worry about whether your belly is too small or too large. Instead, focus on embracing a healthy pregnancy lifestyle to provide your baby with all the necessary nutrients for the best start in life.