7 Reasons Why Belly Size Doesn’t Always Equate To Baby Size

7 Reasons Why Belly Size Doesn't Always Equate To Baby Size

Most pregnant women will agree that the moment their bump is noticeable, everyone they meet has an opinion about the size of the baby.

There you are, feeling immensely proud of your baby bump until someone comments on how big or how small it is – and then the worry creeps in.

Is the baby going to get bigger?

Have I been eating too many chocolate biscuits?

And the most important question – will the baby ‘fit’ when it’s born?

But there’s really no need to worry.

Pregnancy bellies come in many different shapes and sizes.

There are plenty of reasons why you appear to carrying a small or large baby – here are 7 of them:

#1: Your Height

If you’re tall and have a long abdomen, your baby has a lot of growing space. Your uterus will tend to grow upwards rather than push outwards.

Result: your belly will look smaller.

If you’re a shorter woman, there’s a smaller space between your hip and your lowest rib. That means less room for the baby to grow upwards, so your uterus will push outwards instead.

Result: your bump will show earlier and look bigger.

#2: If You’re A First Time Mother-To-Be

A woman having her first baby tends to have a more compact bump because the large abdominal muscles haven’t been stretched before. They are usually toned and tight, holding the baby snug and high. This can make you look smaller than you might expect at a given point in your pregnancy.

#3: Baby’s Position

Babies are pretty active in the uterus. They move around and change position frequently, especially up to the end of the second trimester.

During the last trimester, babies usually favour a head-down position, but can move their backs from one side to another, or even move into a posterior position (baby’s back against mother’s back).

Your belly will change shape and size depending on the position your baby is in.

#4: You’re Running Out Of Room

When you’re housing a baby, placenta, cord and fluid, your internal organs have to fit somewhere.

As the uterus grows, the intestines can be pushed behind it, making your belly look very round and ‘all baby’. Or your intestines might move to the sides of your uterus, making your belly appear big and ‘to the sides’.

#5: Previous Pregnancies Alter Your Shape

Pregnancy stretches the abdominal muscles so that the growing baby can be accommodated. These muscles stay flexible after the birth and don’t regain their previous tone. During your next pregnancy, you might notice your bump showing much earlier and looking bigger. This doesn’t mean your baby is larger – your body has been altered by your previous pregnancy.

A woman who is very athletic and fit, and regains muscle tone between pregnancies, can appear to be ‘carrying small’ for subsequent babies. The muscles are able to hold baby quite snug and tight and her belly might appear more compact.

#6: The Amount Of Amniotic Fluid

The amount of fluid surrounding your baby can fluctuate. While too much or not enough amniotic fluid can point to problems, it’s common for the levels to change every hour or so.

In the first 20 weeks, most of the amniotic fluid is produced from your own body fluids. In later pregnancy, your baby is producing the larger amount of amniotic fluid, mainly from lung secretions and urine output.

So, depending on how pregnant you are, if you or your baby are producing plenty of fluid, your belly might alter in shape or size.

#7: Baby’s Size

Okay, so it’s a bit obvious but you might actually be having a big or small baby. Genetics play an important part in the baby’s size. If both parents are tall, then the baby will probably have the same traits. If both are average size, the baby is more likely to be petite and not very long.

Babies tend to be in the same weight range as their parents, too. So if you and your partner were about 9 lbs. at birth, you’re not likely to give birth to a tiny 6 lb. bundle.

Birth order can also make a difference in how big your baby is likely to be. Subsequent babies tend to be larger at birth than their older siblings were. Boys are generally bigger at birth than girls as well … but guessing the gender of your baby from the size and shape of your belly is a whole other discussion!

The truth is, no-one can judge the size of your baby simply by looking at your belly – not even your doctor or midwife.

As your body changes at each different stage of pregnancy, you can’t compare yourself with other women. Remember, every pregnancy is unique.

Unless you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, or you’ve been suffering from severe and prolonged morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum), the size of your belly shouldn’t be a concern.

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Sam McCulloch enjoyed talking so much about birth she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she writes novels. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.


  1. Hey I’m actually 3 months, my family is even asking if I’m really pregnant because my tummy is too flat
    Is the a problem

    1. No its not a problem at all! I am 29 weeks pregnant and only just starting to show most women at my stage are huge but it depends how much room your abdomen has and how toned your muscles were prior to pregnancy. The smaller bump the better for your muscles to go back to normal after. Your doctor should measure you each month to see if your on track. You have a long way to go yet some women like myself suddenly start to pop out later as the baby actually gets bigger. Before 6 months the baby is tiny and bumps are usually the swollen uterus and fluid causing such a big bump so early on. 🙂

  2. I feel a lot better reading this! I just found out I’m expecting, and I’m 13 weeks. It took longer for em to even confirm it because I couldn’t tell until last week. I’m 5,8 and have a pretty long torso, so I’m hoping it is just more room for baby to grow!

  3. I feel a lot better reading this! I just found out I’m expecting, and I’m 13 weeks. It took longer for me to even confirm it because I couldn’t tell until last week. I’m 5’ 8 and have a pretty long torso, so I’m hoping it is just more room for baby to grow!

  4. I am 22 weeks and 6’2 and barely starting to show I feel so much better after reading this and I still have yet to feel my baby kick

  5. I just found out i was pregnant. My stomach is getting bigger but my muscle just above is still there, right under. Will that ever grow with baby? And look normal

  6. I am 20 weeks but my stomach does not show up but i feel my baby movement does any problem.my height is 170cm and weight 48 kg

    1. im 30 weeks pregnant and i have a tiny belly also when i tell people how far along i am they are shocked cause i do not look 7 months pregnant.. So dont feel lefted out ladies im small also. This is my first pregnancy and i always imagined having a huge belly. Kinda sucks cause thats all i ever wanted. but doctor saids baby is fine all that matters right healthy babies…. And i dont eat as much neither this pregancy is weirdd…

  7. Hi, I’m 34 weeks pregnant and all of a sudden my bump feels much smaller then it did a week ago. Is this normal did anyone else experience This?

    1. Hi, I’m A First Time Mother To Be At 5 Months But The Doctors Say When Ur Close To Deliver Your Bump Appear Smaller

  8. I am 5 and a half months, baby bump still the same size as when i was 4 months….lol but i feel her move everyday so i know she is ok

  9. I am 29 weeks pregnant with triplets but just can’t stop worrying about the size of my baby bump. At times I even doubt if at all I am carrying three babies , of if there are ok. Always emagining how there will look like at birth, CU’s I am scared there will be too small

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