At the moment I get a lot of “you’re still so small!” Especially when it comes to weigh-ins and I still haven’t gained since that week of super-gains at the start of the second trimester. But when I look at pictures of other 21 week women online, I see plenty of women my shape and smaller at this stage. And plenty of variety in the shape and size of bumps at all stages. Some women have huge bumps and have hardly gained weight. Some have tiny bumps but are heavier. Some gain more of both, some almost none of either. And these are women who all went on to have perfectly healthy babies. What gives?
Here are five variables I have found that seem to make all the odds.
1: Age of the mother.
A big one: younger women stay smaller for longer, then “pop” more in the third trimester. Almost across the board, the younger you are, the less bump there will be until later.
2: Sickness and cravings.
We will all likely get at least a little queasiness and a bit of the hungers at some point during our pregnancy. But some are affected more than others. If I had had my travel sickness 24/7, I’m pretty sure I would still be 68-70kg today. There is no way I could have ate anything like that. Likewise, if I was as hungry all the time as I get some of these days, I would probably be nearing my 80kg safe-limit already. Your appetite will sway you one way or the other, regardless of how hard you work to eat well.
3: Muscle tone.
I had figured I would “pop” fairly quickly, due to having been obese as a teen. I thought that, seeing as my abs have already been overstretched, there would be no resistance for the baby to grow against. Turns out it doesn’t work like that. Because I do plenty of core exercises in my yoga, lifting and belly dancing, my abs are pretty solid. And solid abs are solid abs, stretch or no stretch.
Yeah, it seems obvious, but if you’re a shorter woman: you could still be carrying a 6-8lb baby. And that means you will have a “regular” bump on your petite frame. It’s going to look huge. Likewise, on a woman with hips as big as mine, or a much taller woman, the same bump may look moderate or even small. It’s an optical illusion you can’t escape.
5: The other mothers around you.
Finally, this will not change how you gain weight, but it can create another optical illusion. As I said, I have been told I was quite small for my stage. Which I may be. But I live in an area where many other women are older, unfit, overweight and happy to snack on sugary things. My culture does not lean towards small bumps. On the other hand, women from a closer group to me (same age, same fitness and dietary habits] tend to be about the same size as me. I might only look small. Likewise, you may appear bigger or smaller if you compare yourself to a demographic which does not represent you.
And you can’t really win with this. At first I was terrified of getting fat. Then I was disappointed at how small the bump was. Then, when I knew baby was healthy, I was proud I was controlling me weight. And now I’m somewhere between thinking I’m too fat, but the bump is too small. No winning at all. I guess you just have to work hard to stay healthy, see where pregnancy takes you and work out where to go from birth when you get there.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!