Most pregnant women will agree that once their belly starts 'showing', everyone from their relatives, friends, work colleagues and even the greengrocer down the road becomes an 'expert' on pregnancy. This new interest can make you feel very special or perhaps annoyed at having a great deal of unwanted attention. You may feel even more uncomfortable when people start touching your bump, invading your personal space without asking first. You may at times feel the need to tell well-meaning admirers to 'keep their hands to themselves' literally!
With all this added attention often comes the inevitable question of "How many weeks/months are you?' followed by "Oh you're quite big!' or "You're very small'. This can make some women feel proud that they are growing a healthy, large baby or pleased that they are able to 'look slim' while heavily pregnant. But in most cases comments like these usually erode a woman's confidence, making her feel concerned that something may be wrong (especially if the same comments are made by a few people).
The truth is not even the most skilled and experienced doctor or midwife can truly guess how far pregnant a woman is by just looking at her belly. It is not until she lies down and her belly is formally examined (or 'palpated') that they can make a fair judgement (so how your butcher knows is anybody's guess!)
As humans we are all individuals and the size and shape of a pregnant woman's belly will depend on many factors (even at identical stages of pregnancy) including:
- Your height and weight.
- If this is your first or subsequent baby.
- What position your baby is lying in, and of course
- If you are carrying twins or triplets or more!
As you watch yourself change and look more closely at other pregnant women, try to remember that every woman's body is unique in how she changes and responds to her pregnancy.
Find more articles on physical changes during pregnancy