Why is my pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft. Every pregnant woman will of course have a growing belly size (baby bump), but interestingly, the sizes are different. This is an explanation of the belly of pregnant women getting bigger and the reasons behind their different sizes.
What are baby bumps?
A baby bump is a bulge in the abdomen due to pregnancy that is usually seen at the beginning of the second trimester, around 16 weeks.
As the size of the fetus increases, the uterus also dilates and rises above the symphysis pubis. This is where the pubic bone is in front of the pelvis. By the time the uterus rises above the symphysis pubis, the mother will begin to feel the belly bulge because the fetus is no longer hiding behind the pelvic bone.
You will feel a slight bulge in your stomach at 12 weeks pregnant. However, it is usually not very visible when the mother is wearing clothes. Quoting to john Hopkins medicine, the size of the uterus increases at 20 weeks of pregnancy, making the baby bump more visible.
The second trimester is also a turning point for both mother and fetus. The reason is, mothers are more comfortable with pregnancy because nausea and vomiting have been much reduced.
The reason for the size of the baby bump for every pregnant woman is different
Have you ever met a friend who is pregnant, has the same gestational age, but has a different belly size?
There are various factors Why is a pregnant belly sometimes hard and sometimes soft. Yolanda Kirkham, the obstetrician at Women’s College Hospital and St. Joseph Health Center Toronto, Canada, explains it below.
1. Muscle strength
Muscles have an important role in posture, including the formation of a baby bump in pregnant women.
When pregnant women regularly exercise that concentrates the strength of the abdominal muscles, the rectus muscles (front abdominal muscles) will become tighter. When the abdominal muscles are tight and strong, the baby bump will look smaller because around the stomach there is no fat that can emphasize the belly bulge.
On the other hand, if the abdominal muscles are stretched due to having been pregnant before, the bulge of the mother’s stomach will be bigger. This is because the abdominal muscles during the second pregnancy are more elastic than the first pregnancy.
2. Mother’s height and weight
Consciously or not, the mother’s height and weight affect the size of the baby bump during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who are tall or short and thin have a wide belly bulge that is also more visible. This is because the space for the fetus to develop and move is not covered by fat in the abdomen.
In contrast to pregnant women who have a full-body, the baby bump will not be too visible, because it is disguised by fat around the stomach.
3. Hormonal changes
Basically, the baby bump will be seen along with the development of the fetus in the womb. Usually, pregnant women have not shown a bulge in the abdomen before 16 weeks of gestation. However, again, every mother’s pregnancy is different.
In the first trimester, mothers will feel morning sickness which will affect their appetite. Of course, the mother is likely to lose weight.
On the other hand, if the mother has gained weight during the early stages of pregnancy, the belly area will look bigger faster. The hormone progesterone can also cause flatulence which affects the shape of the stomach of pregnant women.
Read also: Foods to Eat When Pregnant First Trimester
Things you need to pay attention to
No need to worry about the difference between baby bumps and other mothers. The thing that you need to pay attention to is the development of the fetus in the womb is appropriate or not.
Take, for example, fetal weight, heart rate, fetal movement, and other aspects. Even so, there are some things that mothers need to pay attention to about baby bumps.
- When taking public transportation
Different sizes of baby bumps sometimes make other people not aware of the mother’s pregnancy.
Take, for example, mom and a friend are both 18 weeks pregnant. When the friend has seen a bulge on his stomach, while the mother is still not protruding. This is okay, but pay attention if you are in a crowd or traveling by public transport.
It’s a good idea to tell the staff on the train or bus that you are pregnant and need a seat. There is no need to hesitate because if the mother stands for too long, it can cause problems during pregnancy, such as swollen feet.
- Wear comfortable clothes
When the baby bump is clearly visible, the mother can wear looser clothes to make her more comfortable during activities. Choose clothes that absorb sweat and special pants for pregnant women with elastic bands on the stomach.
If the bra that you usually wear is uncomfortable, it’s time to wear a nursing bra with elastic bands that follow the shape of your breasts.
- Do light exercise
During the second and third trimesters, mothers can do light exercises such as leisurely walks or prenatal yoga.
Exercise during pregnancy can increase the production of endorphins, which have the ability to reduce pain. In addition, exercise can also reduce stress levels in the mother’s body.
No need to exercise for long, just 10 minutes a day to stretch the tense muscles during pregnancy.