With two best friends almost at the same point in pregnancy (one just a week ahead of the other), I couldn’t resist the urge to compare their baby bumps. They were a couple of weeks away from their due date. I realized that my petite friend, the one with the 1 week lead, didn’t look big enough while the other who stands tall at 5’10” looked ready to pop.
Why the difference? Does the size of the bump matter or is it only a question of physique and build? And, is the size of the bump an indication of the baby’s weight?
You can rest all your thoughts because I am going to reveal the mystery behind the shapes and sizes of baby bumps.
Factors determining the size of the bump
- First or Second Pregnancy–Women for whom it is their first pregnancy tend to have a smaller neater bump. The stomach muscles are tight and more firm. In subsequent pregnancies, the stomach muscles that have already stretched once remain loose and tend to stretch more resulting in a bigger bump.
- Carrying Multiples–Women carrying twins or triplets will have a bigger bump than women with a single pregnancy.
- Amount of Amniotic Fluid–The size of the bump is also affected by the amount of amniotic fluid present. A big bump means a lot of amniotic fluid.
- Position of the baby–The position in which the baby lies is another determinant of the bump size. This factor also decides the difficulty a woman experiences in labor. A vertical position with either head or bottom down could result in a smaller bump in terms of width. But a horizontal position, lying side ways will make the bump big and wide.
- Mother’s body weight–Women who are underweight tend to have a smaller bump. Babies born to underweight women also tend to suffer low birth weight. On the contrary, overweight women tend to show more than the gestational age which is also not good.
Measuring the size of the baby bump
The midwife generally starts measuring the size of the bump between 25- 28 weeks of gestation. The midwife assesses the fetal growth and development be measuring the fundal height. The fundal height is the measure of the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. The fundal height is measured in centimeters. After the firs trimester the fundal height corresponds with the weeks of gestation. Thus, if you are 28 weeks pregnant, the fundal height should be around 28 centimeters.
When does the size of the bump become a cause of worry?
The midwife will evaluate the size of the bump during antenatal checkups. If it is too small or two big it will require further tests. A very small bump indicates poor growth rate of the baby or the presence of kidney diseases. A very huge bump in addition to being overweight could pose serious health risks for both you and the baby. It increases the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and Pre-eclampsia. All these factors will affect the size of the baby, labor and delivery.