Transformations that a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy not only relate to internal restructuring, but also manifest themselves in external changes that at a certain time become noticeable to others. The main and most important among them is the growth of the abdomen during gestation.

The growth rate of the abdomen during pregnancy is individual for all women. Some women already in the 10th-12th week of pregnancy do not “fit” into their usual clothes, and others look as if they ate too much, even in the third trimester. However, knowing how the growth of the belly during pregnancy by weeks, the expectant mother will be able to plan visits to important events or travel, to take care in advance about the replacement of clothes in her closet for a more comfortable.

When does the abdomen begin to grow in pregnancy?

If pregnancy is a first pregnancy, the abdomen usually begins to grow between 12 and 16 weeks, but at first the increase will be visible only to the woman. Then the figure gradually undergoes changes, and by the 4th month it is real weight gain of a couple of kilograms. The second and subsequent pregnancies will appear earlier, already by 8-10 weeks the growth of the abdomen in pregnancy may require the purchase of new clothes.

This situation is absolutely normal, because previous pregnancies have left the uterus and abdominal muscles slightly stretched, allowing a faster adaptation to the new position. Therefore, there is no strictly defined term when the belly will be noticeable to others. Moreover, there are cases where an onset and properly developed pregnancy was hidden and the manifestation of noticeable roundness was not accompanied at all until its peak and a successful delivery.

Norms of abdominal growth by weeks and trimesters

Despite the fact that abdominal growth in all women is a personalized process, there are average norms of how the growth of the abdomen occurs during pregnancy. It is considered normal if the circumference of the abdomen of the expectant mother increases at a rate of about 2-3 cm every 2 weeks.

Specialists believe that the volume of the abdomen of the expectant mother in accordance with the current week of pregnancy should coincide with the figures presented in the table:

The week of pregnancyCircumference (cm)

It is better if the measurements are carried out by a specialist using the same tape, as self-measurements usually give results with serious inaccuracies. Despite the fact that, it would seem, no difficulties in the measurements should not arise, there are rules, violation of which and leads to incorrect figures.

When the belly begins to grow during pregnancy: what does its appearance depend on?

Sizes that differ from the norm: a small belly

Finding out what month of pregnancy the abdomen begins to grow, a woman should ensure that its volume was within the norm, corresponding to the term of gestation. That is, the tummy may be either too small, or on the contrary – very large. Each situation has its own reasons.

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Thus, a small belly may indicate the presence of:

  • fetoplacental insufficiency;
  • intrauterine infection;
  • scarcity of amniotic fluid;
  • hypotrophy or intrauterine fetal retardation;
  • premature aging or thin placenta;
  • prematurity;
  • Severe gestosis, leading to fetal retardation.

However, a small belly can also be if the pregnancy is normal. This is possible in the incorrect determination of the term, as well as with a wide pelvis, when the belly is not so noticeable, being slightly “sunken”.

When the belly begins to grow during pregnancy: what does its appearance depend on?

Deviation from the norm: too big belly

If the growth of the abdomen during pregnancy occurs with deviations from the normative characteristics in the direction of increasing, the reasons for this phenomenon may be:

  • uncontrolled weight gain with an excess of high-calorie products in the diet;
  • multiple pregnancies;
  • Trophoblastic disease (chorioepithelioma, vesicoureteric congestion);
  • transverse or diagonal presentation of the baby in the abdomen;
  • Edematous and thick placenta (in case of Rh conflict);
  • large size of the unborn child;
  • placenta previa, when the uterine fundus is too high;
  • narrow pelvis of a woman when the baby is placed higher.

The procedure for determining whether the size of the abdomen conforms to established norms allows you to monitor whether the pregnancy is proceeding normally. If there is a serious discrepancy with the norms, an additional ultrasound examination is appointed.

When the abdomen begins to grow earlier during pregnancy

In addition to which term it is a woman’s pregnancy, at what stage of pregnancy the abdomen begins to grow ahead of schedule, may be affected by several reasons at once:

  • Carrying a woman with twins or triplets – in this case, the pregnant woman’s belly will, in principle, be larger than with a single child, and visually it will begin to grow, respectively, earlier;
  • The build of the expectant mother – as a rule, the slimmer a woman is, the earlier the pregnancy becomes noticeable;
  • Lack of elasticity of abdominal muscles – untrained abs stretch better, which is why some moms who do not exercise, begin to look pregnant earlier than others;
  • Attachment of the placenta at the front wall of the uterus;
  • Rapid growth of the fetus.

If the changes do not appear for a long time

The growth of the abdomen in pregnancy can not only be ahead of the average established terms, but the increase can occur with a significant delay not only in the early terms, but also in the second, and even the third trimester. And if in the first trimester such visual changes are associated with the individual characteristics of the body of a particular woman, the growth of the abdomen during pregnancy by trimester later is an important indicator of its normal development.

If for a long time a woman’s belly is not visible both in the early terms and in the proper terms, this may be due to:

  • Women’s constitution – large ladies can hide their “interesting” position for a longer time;
  • The presence of a backward curvature of the uterus – with this physiological feature, the uterus is tilted back, to the rectum, so its increase becomes noticeable later;
  • A wide pelvis – the belly as if “hiding” inside the body.

What causes the change in shape

The growth of the abdomen during pregnancy is not a chaotic process, but in accordance with the algorithm set by nature. Changes in the shape of the expectant mother and the appearance of her tummy due to several factors – the growth of the fetus, placenta, increased amniotic fluid, active weight gain the expectant mother. Maternal heredity is also very important for the active growth of the abdomen during pregnancy.

It is important what size tummy during pregnancy were the next of kin in the female line – my mother, grandmother. The figure becomes more rounded and because the abdomen began to appear fat deposits. The growth is gradual and its peak is of course in the third trimester, when, as a rule, it is not possible to hide the “interesting” situation even with a great desire.

When the belly begins to grow during pregnancy: what does its appearance depend on?

The shape of the abdomen

The growth of the abdomen during pregnancy also occurs with a change in its shape. Previously, in the era of ultrasound, was taken by then, whether he was rounded or sharp, to determine whether a girl or a boy will be born in a particular woman. Myth asserted that the owner of a sharp tummy will be a boy, and round – a girl. However, these omens rarely coincided with the true state of affairs. In fact, pay attention to the shape of the tummy is necessary for quite other reasons – to monitor the normal nurturing of the fetus.
Even if the growth of the abdomen during pregnancy occurs in accordance with the established sizes, the shape, for example, an oval lying on its side, before delivery can indicate the transverse position of the fetus. If asymmetry in shape is observed, it is necessary to check the development of the fetus, especially the size of its head.

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