Q:

The Waiting Game: When do you start showing in pregnancy?

A:

Quick Answer

When you start showing in pregnancy depends on a variety of factors, but the average time is from about 12 weeks. Body type and age can contribute to how soon one's bump will grow.

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Full Answer

Factors That Determine How Soon a Woman's Pregnancy Will Show
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to a pregnant woman's growing bump, as every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. There are several factors that can determine how soon you will start to show in pregnancy such as age, number of pregnancies, body type, female relatives, the position of your uterus and how many babies you are carrying.

A Woman's Age
The reason one's age can determine when she starts showing in pregnancy is because the younger the woman, the tighter her abdominal muscles will be, so she might not start to show until later on in the pregnancy. This is in stark contrast to older women whose bodies lose elasticity and firmness over the years.

The Number of Previous Pregnancies
First-time mothers typically start showing between 12 and 16 weeks into their pregnancy. If a woman has been pregnant before, she may well begin to show even sooner than this because her uterine and stomach muscles have been stretched during her other pregnancies.

Body Type
Generally speaking, the smaller a woman's frame and the thinner she is means that her pregnancy will start to show sooner than a larger woman's pregnancy. This is because the new curves seem larger on a smaller woman than they would on a woman who has a fuller figure.

Female Relatives
Pregnant women should look to their female relatives including mothers and sisters to compare how their bumps grew during pregnancy. It could be that female members of the same family have a similar pattern in how soon their pregnancies began to show.

Position of the Uterus
By around 12 weeks the uterus has increased in size and extends above the pubic bone. If the uterus leans towards the back, the pregnancy may take longer to show. However, if the uterus leans forward it can cause a pregnancy to show early.

Number of Babies in the Pregnancy
It stands to reason that with multiple babies a woman's uterus needs to expand more so that it can accommodate more than one baby. The more the uterus needs to expand the bigger the bump will be, and she will start to show sooner than she would if she was carrying one baby.

Other Factors
Miscalculating the first day of a woman's last period can result in the wrong due date, which in turn can affect how a woman views the size of her bump. She may think she is further on than she actually is and her bump may not reflect her dates. A scan is the only way to accurately determine how many weeks pregnant she really is. Medical issues such as flatulence and constipation can affect the size of a pregnant woman's stomach. They create a feeling of fullness and bloating and make the stomach larger than usual, which can be mistaken for a pregnancy bump. While gas and constipation are normal in pregnancy because of fluctuating hormones, the side effect of a bloated stomach can be a source of confusion.

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