One of the things I looked forward to the most after getting a positive pregnancy test was actually looking pregnant. I had spent so much of my young adult life sucking in my tummy in an attempt to not look like I had a bun in the oven, that it was relief to finally be able to let out a full breath. All I wanted to know in those first few weeks was when will I pop?
The point in which your belly pops varies from person to person, and the same person can pop at different times during subsequent pregnancies. According to Baby Center, first-time moms usually start to show between 12 and 16 weeks. Since their uterine and abdominal muscles have been stretched from a previous pregnancy, moms who have already had a baby tend to pop sooner than they had before.
In my case, I started showing sometime around my 12th week with my first pregnancy. With my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with an anteverted uterus — a situation when your uterus is tilted forward— and was already showing by week eight. It is uncommon to show so early, and most earlier-than-expected belly expansion is due to bloating, gas, constipation or even a pregnancy of multiples according to Baby Center.
OB-GYN Adam Shoman wrote in Pregnancy Corner that some women have a come-and-go belly early in their pregnancies. This is when your tummy is expanded one day and then disappears the next day after you’ve had a bowel movement. "This full belly-flat belly phenomenon, while a little unsettling, is normal," Shoman said. Additionally,Shoman wrote that hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe and persistent form of morning sickness, may cause a mom-to-be to pop later in her pregnancy.
There are a number of women who will show later than the average. Labor nurse, Jeanne Faulkner told Fit Pregnancy that women with bigger tummies or those with very tight abdominal muscles might not pop until late in the second trimester. If your uterus tilts back, also known as a retroverted uterus, you may also have a late belly pop according to Baby Center.
Once your belly finally pops, it may be time to consider maternity clothes. Some pregnant mamas can get away with wearing non-maternity leggings and flowy dresses for all nine months. But those of us whose tummies grow to the size of beach balls have no choice but to shop in the maternity aisle. Although it's fun to be fashionable, it is even more important to be comfortable.