Once you start showing, pregnancy is not only that much more real, but it's visible to the public eye. An expanding belly is a healthy sign that your little one is properly developing, and you may find yourself eagerly tracking his or her growth. However, if you find yourself comparing your tummy's size to the belly sizes of other expectant moms, you may get worried that yours is too big or too small.
Your healthcare provider may start measuring your belly when you're around 20 weeks along. This is typically done in centimeters. The result can then be compared to the expected measurement for how far into your pregnancy you may be - it can be calculated by taking the number of weeks you've been pregnant and adding two to get a maximum value and subtracting two to get a minimum value.
For instance, at 25 weeks, most expecting moms may have bellies that are between 23 and 27 centimeters on top of their normal waist circumferences.
Be wary of large bellies early on
If you find that your tummy is growing faster than this, you may be experiencing some fluid retention, which is a normal side effect of pregnancy. However, it could also be a sign of gestational diabetes, so you may want to talk to your healthcare provider just to be on the safe side.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, 3 to 8 percent of pregnant women get gestational diabetes, a condition that is the result of blood sugar levels getting too high. The reason why some expecting moms experience this condition during pregnancy, even without a history of diabetes, is because changes in hormone levels and weight gain might make it more difficult for the body to efficiently produce and use insulin.
Small is not always bad
On the other hand, if you find that your pregnant belly is smaller than you would expect, there are also many reasons why this may be. For instance, if you are athletic and have a lot of muscles in your core, you may not show as soon as women who are softer in the abdominal area.
However, if you're ever worried, you can always call your healthcare provider and get your little one checked out.
Was your belly size on target throughout your pregnancy? Were you too big or too small? What kind of advice did you get from your doctors? Leave your answers in the comments section!