How To Know When The Baby Bump Will Show

black and white photo of a man and woman holding a baby bump
*Collaborative Post

When does the baby bump start to show? This is a question that excites and intrigues many women during the early stages of their pregnancy. A visible baby bump is a turning point in any pregnancy, it is the moment that a private acknowledgement of a burgeoning life becomes public knowledge and it is the sign that your baby is growing. So, when does this defining moment happen? Well, it’s different for every woman and there are a variety of factors involved. 

Keep reading to find out more. 


When The Baby Bump Will Show

It’s perfectly normal to look to other women to determine the average time that a baby bump will start to show. Every pregnancy is unique, but on average, most women will see a small visible bump between 12-16 weeks. You should know, however, that there are a variety of factors that can influence this timeline and can make the bump appear sooner or later. 


What Influences When The Baby Bump Will Show?

Mom’s Age

When it comes to the baby bump’s visibility, the age of the mother can play a big role. A young woman will likely show a little later because she will have stronger abdominal muscles for the baby to hide behind. An older mom may well have weaker abdominal muscles, so the baby will show through sooner. Of course, age doesn’t always determine a person’s physicality and this can vary depending on each person’s muscle tone and fitness.


Whether The Mom Is A First Time Mom 

Women who have given birth before often see their baby bump emerge sooner. This is because their abdominal muscles have already been stretched and moved during their first pregnancy and may not have returned to their original position. First-time moms will usually see their bump appear a little later.  


Body Type

A woman’s body type can also determine when their baby bump might show. Women who are more on the slender side may see their baby bump show earlier purely because they have no way of hiding it. A wider frame may show later as the baby could sit across mom quite happily. Height can also be a factor again due to the space that baby has to grow within.



Women pregnant with twins or multiples usually see their baby bump emerge earlier than women only carrying a single baby. When a woman is pregnant with two or more babies, the uterus expands farther to allow adequate room for their development. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the final size of the bump, before delivery, will be larger than a woman carrying only one baby. 



Genetics can also play a role in how quickly the baby bump shows. If you have relatives, especially a mom or aunt or sister, whose baby bump showed early, you’re more likely to show early too – and vice versa. If your family’s bumps showed late, yours might too. 


Position Of The Uterus

The position of a woman’s uterus sometimes determines how quickly her baby bump will show. A woman with a retroverted uterus, or one that tilts back, may disguise the baby bump longer than someone with an anteverted uterus, or one that tilts forward, making a protruding belly much more noticeable.


Abdominal Strength 

You may have heard that women who work out during pregnancy experience an easier time bouncing back after the birth of the baby. This is because they kept their ab muscles strong and intact. At the same time, women who have strong abdominal muscles are more likely to show later than women who don’t. This is because the abs encapsulate the baby, and hide it within the body in a sense 


Reasons Why You Might Be Showing Early

For some women, their baby bump will show quite early. For most moms-to-be, this is an exciting time where she can finally settle into her pregnancy and not worry about whether or not she just looks as if she’s gained weight. Here are a few factors that can influence that. 


Gas /Bloating 

Unfortunately, many pregnant women experience gas and bloating throughout their pregnancy. During the first few weeks, this might cause the appearance of a baby bump, but it likely isn’t. The baby would still be too small at this point to make your stomach protrude enough to be noticeable. 


Wrong Due Date

Getting a wrong due date is rare, but it does happen. If there are any discrepancies about the date of the mother’s last cycle, or perhaps, if she was irregular, the doctor might think you’re earlier or further along than you actually are. If a woman thinks they’re 10 weeks, but is actually 13 weeks along, she might think her baby bump is showing early, when it’s actually right on schedule.


The Size Of The Baby

Women who are carrying bigger babies show early-it’s almost a guarantee! Women with bigger babies are also likely to have larger bumps overall. 


Tight Clothes

Most pregnant women transition into looser clothing as their bumps grow, usually for comfort’s sake. But some women like to show off their bump in form-fitting clothes. Those women are more likely to appear to have a larger bump, due to the clinginess of their clothes. 

pregnant bump in a tight turquoise top


How To Know If It’s A Baby Bump

During the early days of pregnancy, it’s easy to mistake the baby bump for other things-bloating, gas, etc. Here’s how to know for sure if what you’re seeing and feeling is actually a baby bump: 

  • Timing- Most bumps don’t show until the second trimester, which starts at the end of week 12. 
  • Location -The lower belly starts to feel full. 
  • Abdominal twinges– The stomach feels like it’s being pulled and stretched. 
  • Lack of Mobility– if the stomach can’t be sucked in, no matter what, its likely a baby bump. 


How To Track The Baby Bump

Tracking the growth of the baby bump is a fun, exciting way for a mom-to-be to keep track of her baby’s development. Their doctor will, of course, monitor these measurements themselves, but there’s nothing wrong with her keeping track, in-between visits. 

One fun way to achieve this is by downloading a pregnancy app that allows users to record their measurements. To keep the mother safe from harm, a paper or cloth tape measure should be used, instead of the utility kind. The woman can also just track her progress in a pregnancy journal. Lastly, she can bypass both of those options and simply take weekly photos! 


Will The Baby Bump Show By The Baby Shower? 

Yes! If the woman has the shower during the traditional period – mid-way through the last trimester. By then, most women aren’t only showing, they’re sporting a very large, unmistakable baby bump! 

Even though it’s not exactly safe to have a traditional baby shower, during the Covid Pandemic, it’s still possible to have a social distance baby shower! And yes, baby bumps can be shown off even at virtual showers. 


We hope that this information served you well. 

The baby bump is a beautiful physical symbol of the new life that’s emerging inside of you. It’s totally natural and normal to anticipate just when it will emerge, especially during these trying times, when it’s more important than ever to hold on to special milestones. 


*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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