Woman holding her pregnant belly

Are you curious about what to expect as your pregnant belly grows each trimester? Experiencing your body change as you prepare for your baby's arrival is an exciting time, but often filled with questions, especially for first-time moms. While all baby bumps are unique, this article gives you some general guidelines on what to expect from each of the pregnant belly stages. We'll talk about the physical and emotional aspects of the entire journey, from when the first signs of that cute baby bump begin to show to the full-on belly magic. 


Early Stages: Trimester 1 

Many expectant moms can't wait to see that belly pop once they discover they are pregnant. 

Weeks 1-8

There's no baby bump yet at this early stage of pregnancy, but you will start to notice other signs of pregnancy like morning sickness, fatigue, and breast tenderness. Your body also begins to make human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by trophoblast tissue which later becomes the placenta. Measuring hCG levels in your blood or urine is an effective method of determining pregnancy. 

Weeks 9-12 

During this stage, you might start noticing slight changes to your belly area as there is a fetus growing in there at this point. You probably have yet to gain much weight, and your pregnancy is typically unnoticeable to others. 


Growing Belly: Trimester 2 

You likely won't have much of a baby bump at the start, but by the end of this trimester, you will probably have a noticeable, rounded belly. 

Weeks 13-20 

Your baby bump may "pop" or appear seemingly overnight. The second trimester may also bring some back pain or abdomen discomfort. Your changing body can also cause balance issues as your center of gravity shifts. 

The Changing Belly Button 

Why and how does the belly button change? During your second trimester, you may notice a dark-colored vertical line running down your abdomen. It's called the linea nigra, or the pregnant belly line. 

What Is Linea Nigra Pregnancy Line? 

The linea nigra is always present but remains invisible until your hormones increase during pregnancy. Most expectant moms get the pregnancy line on their stomach around week 20. The line will gradually fade as your hormone levels return to normal after your pregnancy. 

When Does the Baby Move Up Above the Belly Button? 

As your baby grows, the uterus expands until it sits around the belly button at about 20 weeks. It continues to grow upward and you may start to notice movement above your belly button. 


Embracing Your New Belly Bump: Trimester 3 

This is the home stretch, and your bump may start to feel stretched as your baby takes up more room. 

Weeks 28-40 

By the time you reach 28 weeks, your bump has extended up above your belly button and may feel tight and heavy as your baby grows and pushes your belly outwards. The increased pressure may cause your belly button to pop out until after you give birth. 

Your OB will probably measure your belly at your 28-week appointment. The fundal height at this stage, or the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus, should measure around 26 to 30 centimeters. 

At this point in your pregnancy, you should notice more frequent movement and kicks. Sleeping may become more difficult and urination more frequent from increased pressure on the bladder. 


High Belly vs. Low Belly 

Some people claim that the size or shape of your belly can predict if you're carrying a boy or girl, but this is just a myth. How your bump shows depends on your body composition, stature, and the baby's position. 

You might notice that your bump sits lower as you enter the final weeks and days of your pregnancy. This is a sign that the baby is descending into your pelvis in preparation for labor and delivery. 


What to Expect from Your Belly Bump During Pregnancy 

Unwanted questions and touches are an unfortunate part of being pregnant. If someone comes up to you and touches your belly without permission, speak up. Be honest and straightforward and inform the person you don't want to be touched. This blunt, but polite approach works to handle conversations or stares as well. 

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in your life, but it comes with some challenges. Changes to your skin are common. If your pregnant belly feels tight and heavy, or you have itchy stretch marks, try applying a good moisturizer and staying hydrated to ease discomfort. 

Another often difficult aspect of pregnancy is finding comfortable clothing that fits. Belly bands can keep you wearing your favorites for longer. You can also exchange clothing with friends or family members to keep costs low or try a maternity clothing subscription or rentals. 

Get the support you need from other moms who know exactly what you're experiencing. Join Premama®'s online community to talk to other expecting mothers to share your story, get helpful tips, and offer advice to other mamas. 


Your Belly After Birth 

After you deliver your baby and the placenta, your belly can stay swollen for up to six weeks while your uterus shrinks back down to size. It may feel soft and squishy and your abdominal muscles weak after stretching so far throughout your pregnancy. 

Even after the swelling goes down, your belly might not look the same as it did before getting pregnant. You could have lingering weight or loose and stretched skin. All of this is absolutely normal. You just grew a whole new person after all! 


Take Care Of Your Baby Bump With Premama® Prenatal Vitamins 

Watching your baby bump grow with each stage of pregnancy is a special time. Take care of yourself and your precious cargo with Premama® Prenatal Vitamins to get the essential nutrients you both need to stay healthy and happy. 



Q: When Does Pregnancy Start to Show? 

A: It differs with every pregnancy, but the average is between 12 and 24 weeks. 


Q: When Does Your Belly Button Pop Out During Pregnancy? 

A: The navel can pop at any time during the second or third trimesters but is most common around week 26. 


Q: When Does Your Stomach Get Hard During Pregnancy? 

A: The timing varies, but it usually happens during your second or third trimester when the uterus expands to press on the abdominal wall, making it feel firm. 

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