When Do Pregnant Women Start Showing?

Pregnant women typically start showing within a few months, but it could take longer. You may notice the bump sooner than others because you’re watching for changes.

When Will You Look Pregnant?

You may not start showing in your first trimester because your body is going through changes during this time. Your baby is still forming inside of you. While you may feel different, your body may not look different. 

Typically, your bump becomes noticeable during your second trimester. Between 16-20 weeks, your body will start showing your baby’s growth. For some women, their bump may not be noticeable until the end of the second trimester and even into the third trimester.

The second trimester starts in the fourth month. During this month you’ll be able to feel your baby start to move around in little flutters. Your body may start to look different. Others may start to notice differences in your appearance. Pregnancy signs become more prevalent.

Why Do Some Pregnant Women Show Early?

Pregnant women's baby bumps typically start showing in the second trimester. But if this is your second baby, you may show sooner. Your second pregnancy may be very different from your first. In addition to showing earlier, you may feel your baby moving sooner and have a shorter labor. 

Your body has already been through pregnancy and childbirth, so it knows what to expect and can adjust accordingly. The reason you could show earlier with your second baby is due to stretched abdominal muscles. You also know what to look for in your next pregnancy, so you might notice your baby bump sooner. 

Other women might show early because of their age. Older women and women who have been pregnant before can show as early as the first trimester. Also, women who don’t have strong core muscles may show earlier because their muscles are relaxed. Their stomach adapts more easily to looking pregnant.

Why Do Some Pregnant Women Show Late?

Women who are overweight or obese may not show a solid rounded belly until the third trimester. If you have a higher body weight and are classified as a B belly, this means your bump is not as pronounced. A B belly could take until the third trimester to turn into a D belly. 

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When to Be Concerned

There may be different reasons as to why your bump hasn’t appeared yet. However, if you are still not showing in your third trimester, you should talk to your doctor. This also goes for any time you have concerns about yourself or your baby. Your doctor will be able to determine what is best for you and your child. 

If you are small, this could be the reason your bump hasn’t appeared. Your doctor periodically monitors your baby's gestational weight in your uterus. Your baby’s gestational weight will be taken again once they’re born. Complications for your baby related to low gestational weight can include difficulty regulating body temperature, low blood pressure, low oxygen levels, and breathing problems. 

High blood pressure can be a risk for pregnant women. Your baby may be at risk for being small for their gestational age. Being small for their gestational age may keep your belly from becoming noticeable. High blood pressure can also lead to other problems like preterm delivery and infant death. You can get help before, during, and after your pregnancy to treat high blood pressure. 

If you are overweight or obese, your belly may not appear rounded or shaped. Being overweight can make your baby’s gestational weight high for their age. Other risks include gestational diabetes mellitus, miscarriage, preeclampsia, and emergency cesarean surgery. You’ll want to talk with your doctor about healthy and safe practices during pregnancy. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Pregnancy Complications." 

Hunterdon Healthcare: “Pregnancy Fourth Month.”

John Hopkins Medicine: “The First Trimester.”

Lamaze International: “When Will I Start Showing in Pregnancy?”

Mayo Clinic: “I’m pregnant with my second child. Can I expect any differences in my second pregnancy?”

Obstetric Medicine: “Obesity in pregnancy: risks and management.”

Stanford Children’s Health: “Small for Gestational Age.”

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