1. Baby bumps come in all shapes and sizes. The most common reason to have a baby bump that sticks more outward than upward is dependent on which number pregnancy it is. First babies tend to grow upward towards your diaphragm, and subsequent babies tend to grow outward like a basketball. The reason for this is because as you have more children, your abdominal muscles tend to become more lax, so your bump is more likely to grow outward.
2. Does a bigger bump mean a bigger baby? Not necessarily. Just because your bump is growing outward instead of upward does not necessarily mean your baby is bigger. A more accurate way to determine the size your baby is by measuring your fundal height. Your doctor will start measuring your fundal height after 20 weeks. The fundal height is the distance from your pubic symphysis to the top of your uterus (aka the fundus). This measurement is done in centimeters. Most providers will measure the fundal height after 20 weeks because at 20 weeks the uterus will be at the belly button. Before that it can be difficult to measure accurately. Ultrasound is generally used at or before 20 weeks to assess the size of the baby.
3. Does my height affect the size of my baby bump? It may. Women with a short torso are more likely to have “a bigger bump” than someone who is taller, but this does not tell us anything about the baby size. It just tells us that the baby has less room to grow upward, and so it is more likely to grow outward. Babies of shorter women tend to actually be smaller just because more petite women tend to make smaller babies.
4. When can I finally see a baby bump? Most first time mothers will not notice a bump until the second trimester- sometime around 14 to 16 weeks, although if this is not your first baby, you may notice a bump sooner. Some women may confuse bloating in the first trimester with a bump.
5. Is it true that if my bump looks like a basketball I am likely having a boy and if it looks like a watermelon I must be having a girl? Unfortunately, this is just an old wives’ tale. Gender has nothing to do with the shape of your baby bump. The shape of your bump is more likely related to which pregnancy this is, the size of your torso, and the strength of your abdominal wall.
6. Does a bigger bump mean I am going to get a hernia? A hernia is where the intestines can protrude through a weakened portion of the abdominal wall. Most pregnant women will experience some separation of the rectus muscles (diastasis recti), but most pregnant women do not develop a hernia simply because they are pregnant. However, if you have a preexisting hernia, pregnancy can make the hernia worse.
There you have it! Baby bumps can be big or small, grow out or up, and even vary from one pregnancy to the next. Regardless of how your bump grows, we’re here to help you deliver the healthiest possible baby from your bump :)