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All about the bump

Unlock the secrets behind your growing belly — and what it reveals about your pregnancy

It’s endlessly fascinating to watch a baby bump grow — knowing that a new human is forming just below the surface. You may wonder just how big it will get and what else to expect. Here are some bump basics to answer your most pressing questions.


  • The size of the growing uterus that makes this baby bump is roughly the same for everyone but may appear different based on body type and how many times you’ve been pregnant. The first trimester, the uterus grows to about the size of a large orange and gets just above the pubic bone. By 20 weeks, it reaches your belly button. By the end of pregnancy, it will be nearly the size of a watermelon.
  • After the baby, the bump isn’t completely gone. When you leave the hospital, you will look close to how you looked at 20 weeks pregnant. The uterus slowly returns to its normal size in the four to six weeks after delivery.


  • Around the 20-week mark, the bump is clearly visible on most people, and maternity clothes become necessary due to its rounded shape. By this point, you are usually feeling movement, too, though it may be a few weeks longer before anyone else can feel it.
  • Though the uterus grows at the same rate in a second or third pregnancy, your belly may seem bigger in early stages since your muscles have stretched to accommodate the first baby.
  • If you want to showcase your bump in maternity pictures, around 28 weeks is a great time. Your belly is smooth and rounded, but you probably have not started swelling much or getting stretch marks.
  • Some interesting things happen to a growing bump. As early as 20 weeks, you may notice a dark line down the center below your belly button. This is called the linea nigra and is caused by hormones. It will fade in the weeks after delivery.
  • As growth continues, you may develop stretch marks on the belly, hips or thighs. Whether or not you get stretch marks is partly genetic and can be affected by how much weight you gain. Unfortunately, even the best moisturizers cannot prevent all stretch marks.
  • Toward the end of pregnancy, your belly button may start to stick out but usually will revert to normal shortly after the baby comes.


  • A baby bump can provide a lot of information about what is going on inside. Your doctor will measure your belly at prenatal visits after it reaches your belly button at 20 weeks. The measurement from the top of your uterus to your pubic bone should be roughly the same in centimeters as your gestational age in weeks.
  • Your doctor often can tell the position of the baby by examining the bump. You may notice in the late third trimester that the whole bump moves down as the baby moves into the pelvis to prepare for delivery.
  • Contrary to the old wives’ tales about carrying low or high, the bump doesn’t give us any clues about the sex of the baby.

Whether you’re carrying a boy or girl, your bump needs care. Regular prenatal checks, good nutrition and adequate hydration are essential for a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby bump.

Written by Dr. Alisha Ware

Dr. Alisha Ware is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist with The Woman’s Clinic PA. Reach her at (228) 864-2752.

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