Your baby bump size, shape matters —Experts

Shots of pregnant women baring their bumps in maternity photoshoots are making the waves at the moment in Nigeria. Hardly any day goes by without social media users feeding their eyes with different shapes of bumps.

Many pregnant women seem to no longer care who sees their baby bumps and changed bodies. They are willing, ready, and happy to show their blessings to the world, with creative and beautiful maternity photoshoots. They take the time to create the kind of images they want to show the world in their minds while making their pregnancy a memorable experience also.

It is not really clear how and when maternity shoots crept into Nigeria. But what is obvious is that not all pregnant women have large ‘bumps’. Bump size, like any other health-related experience, differs for every woman.

Dr Olusiji Jagun, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, said pregnancy bumps, like any other health-related experience, differs for every woman based on factors such as the woman’s body size, stage of pregnancy, fitness level prior to pregnancy, the number of babies in the womb, and the position of the baby.

He added that in-between pregnancies, the bump size will also be different as the more children a woman has had, the more lax will the stomach muscles become. Also, the bump may be more spread out or bigger with subsequent births due to the lax muscles.

He declared: “For young girls, you might never know that it’s pregnancy they are carrying until they deliver. The bumps may not be too obvious to so many people, so they hide them. Everybody is different, but the majority of bumps become prominent from about 6 months and you will know that definitely, this person is pregnant.”

Dr Jagun declared however that there’s no perfect size for a baby bump since it can develop later with a first pregnancy, and earlier with a second pregnancy or a twin pregnancy. Nevertheless, a big bump doesn’t mean the woman necessarily has a big baby. Also, later in pregnancy, the baby may engage and move lower into the pelvis, making the bump look low.

Does baby bump size matter? According to Dr Jagun, in some women, small baby bumps, especially later in pregnancy, may suggest a problem. If it is particularly small, it might mean that the child is not growing well, resulting in a low birth weight or even a premature birth.

Also, if it’s particularly big, it might be a sign of pregnancy-related diabetes and sometimes with congenital abnormalities or that the woman is carrying a lot of amniotic fluid, which can be a sign of a problem.

Dr Jagun, however, said during antenatal visits, a pregnant woman’s belly can be measured to be sure that it is within the healthy size range, starting from about 20 weeks.  This is medically termed the fundal height, which is the length of her womb from top to bottom. It is also another way of checking the baby’s growth and the due date where the woman is not sure of the date of conception.

On average, a pregnant woman gains about 1 centimeter per week between the pubic bone and the top of the womb. For instance, for a 28 weeks pregnant woman, the measurement should be around 28cm. But 1 or 2 centmetres on either side is usually not a cause for concern.

Dr Jagun said it is also a myth that a baby’s sex can be predicted from the size of the bump because the size of the baby and the position the developing baby adopts in the womb determines the nature of a pregnant woman’s bump. Moreover, the baby’s position at any given time may also temporarily change the shape and size of the bump.

He declared, “The only reliable way of knowing the sex of a baby is through ultrasound scanning. It might be possible to reliably predict this from about 14 and 20 weeks.”

Certainly, having a baby growing in a woman is one most special and most beautiful things anyone can ever experience in life. So, as the baby bump grows, it’s important to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy and get ready for the baby’s arrival into the world.


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