One of the most exciting news that a woman will receive in her lifetime is the confirmation that she is pregnant. Those two lines that appear in a pregnancy test fulfill a longing that most women have. And as the excitement bubbles over, you can’t wait to share the good news with your close circle of family and friends.
As your pregnancy progress, your belly will start to grow. And people outside of your close circle of family and friends may start to notice the baby bump, which is the common term for your growing belly.
It is when your belly has started to grow, become rounded and protrude more than usual. Having a baby bump is like your pregnancy coming out announcement.
A baby bump, therefore, is more from the perspective of other people noticing and suspecting that you are pregnant. Be ready to respond to are-you-pregnant queries from family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and people that you regularly interact with.
If you are a first-time mom-to-be and your baby bump is starting to show, you may have a lot of questions about it. Here are some things to know about baby bumps.
The origin of the term is from a tabloid editor.
The term baby bump is a fairly recent addition to our everyday conversational language. It is a term coined by tabloid editor Bonnie Fuller who was always on the lookout for photos of female celebrities who are rumored to be pregnant. Think of it as part of the cultural obsession with the lives of celebrities.
The term baby bump was originally used to identify female celebrities who may be expecting. From being a pop-culture idiom, it has become part of popular language.
Of course, a protruding belly does not necessarily mean that women are pregnant. It could just be a case of having had too much to eat during a vacation, or because of a very unflattering camera angle when the photo was taken. Confirmation of your pregnancy should come from you.
Baby bumps are now positive representations of pregnancy.
While pregnancy has been part of human history from the beginning, its importance and how it was perceived have changed over time. Prior to women embracing pregnancy and letting the whole world know about it, the earlier generations of expectant mothers had to keep things under wraps. This is because becoming pregnant can be used against women as a basis for being fired from a job.
Thankfully nowadays, being pregnant and letting your baby bump show is a positive representation of your pregnancy. It is a liberating act of announcing to the world that you are pregnant. You do not have to hide it anymore for fear of recrimination. It is your way of telling the world of your acceptance and pride in showing how your body changes during pregnancy.
There is no exact time for the bump to show.
As your belly starts to grow, your baby bump may start to become noticeable anywhere from the 12th to the 24th week of pregnancy. For women who are shorter or more slender, a baby bump may start to show earlier than women who are taller or are plus-size.
Your core muscles may also be a factor in your baby bump showing. A previous pregnancy may also lead to a baby bump becoming noticeable early on as your uterine and abdominal muscles were already stretched previously.
In short, there are different factors for each woman regarding the appearance of their bumps.
The bump is not your baby.
This may come as a surprise to many but a baby bump is actually not our babies showing. It is a sign that your baby is growing in your tummy. But the actual bump is your bowels that have moved higher up in your belly to make space for the baby.
Your baby bump may also be due to pregnancy bloating caused by gas in your stomach. Hormones are released during pregnancy to relax your abdominal muscles. This results in the slowing down of your digestive process which causes more than the usual amount of gas to fill up your belly.
Baby bumps come in different shapes and sizes.
The size and shape of your baby bump are unique to you. Your height, weight, bone structure, previous pregnancies, and even muscle tone will determine the size and shape of your baby bump. Some women may have rounder baby bumps, while others may have more angular ones.
Your baby bump may even come and go in its initial stage, especially if the bump initially appeared in the first trimester. This may be because of the aforementioned gas in your stomach.
Touching your bump is comforting to your baby.
The power of a mother’s touch can be felt by your baby while they are still in your womb. And a baby’s movement in your belly is their way of responding to touch sensation when you rub, pat, massage, or stroke your baby bump.
The growing baby in your belly responds more to your touch than a strangers’ touch. Remember, babies only know their moms at this point so everyone else may be a stranger to them. Let your partner develop that connection with your baby through touch or voice. It is important that your baby is already familiar with your partner’s touch and voice when they come into this world so that they feel safe and comfortable.
Letting other people touch your baby bump should also be based on your comfort level. Set clear boundaries with other people taking liberties in touching your baby bump if you do not feel comfortable. People other than your partner or those in your intimate circle may offer an observation or a comment but touch requires your consent. It is your body after all! Your consent and comfort level are important to consider before anyone reaches out to touch your bump.
Celebrate your pregnancy!
People in your close circle and around you will share in your happiness and excitement when they notice your baby bump. Their level of excitement and joy will be even greater when they get confirmation from you about this exciting period in your life. Bask in that positive energy of celebration from the people who care about you.
Your pregnancy journey will benefit from the care and support expressed and offered by your circle of family and friends. Allow them the space to offer you their positive emotions and any help that you may need, within reasonable and comfortable bounds. Their presence in your pregnancy journey will be good for you and your baby in the long run.
Of course, if at some point you feel the need for further care and support, let the people around you know, especially as the months pass and your baby bump becomes a full-grown pregnant belly. At this point, you may want to consider the services of a doula.
We at Northeast Doulas can help moms like you have that deeply personal physical, emotional, and informational support that you need in your exciting pregnancy journey.
Give us a call and let us be part of your pregnancy celebration.