What your bump size really means

Does your bump size really matter? We asked the experts.


Every pregnant belly is unique in size and shape. While some moms might burst out of their maternity jeans at four months, others barely have a bump to show off. Dr Mark van der Griendt, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Netcare Parklane Hospital in Johannesburg and Dr Tom Mokaya, also a Johannesburg-based obstetrician and gynaecologist explain what you can expect from your bump.

ALSO SEE: 10 ways to look after your bump

Does size matter?

There’s a misconception among some moms that the size of their bump indicates the size of their babies. Dr Van der Griendt says bump size has nothing to do with baby size and that having a big or small bump depends on:

  • Your height
  • Pre-pregnancy weight
  • Weight gain during pregnancy
  • How many children you’ve had
  • Amount of water in the womb
  • Whether or not you exercise.

ALSO SEE: Is your bump too big?

“The size of your bump is not important if your baby is the right weight and size for his gestational age,” says Dr Van der Griendt.

Dr Mokaya adds that moms, whose stomach muscles aren’t very strong because of a previous pregnancy or lack of exercise, tend to carry bigger compared to moms who are fit and have strong stomach muscles to hold their bump in.

It’s important to remember that if you had a C-Section and you still have a bump after your baby is born, it’s not because your stomach muscles have been cut.

“This never, or very rarely, happens and is only done in complicated cases,” says Dr Van der Griendt.

You have to give your uterus time to shrink back to its normal size before you can expect to see any results.

ALSO SEE: 4 weeks to a tighter tummy

When will I start to look pregnant?

Don’t expect to see visual confirmation of your pregnancy before your second trimester. For some moms, the uterus will start getting larger at around 12-14 weeks, so you can expect to see signs of a bump only between 12 and 16 weeks. Not all moms will start showing at the same time. The appearance of your preggy bump will depend on your shape, size and physical fitness.

Will my bump disappear immediately after birth?

Don’t be disappointed if your stomach doesn’t shrink to its pre-pregnancy shape after birth. Your uterus has to shrink back to its normal size before your tummy can do the same, and this usually takes about six weeks. It all depends on your weight gain during pregnancy and the strength of your tummy muscles.

ALSO SEE: Why do I still look pregnant?

More about the experts:

Dr Tom Mokaya is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist practicing in Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and Mediclinic Sandton in Johannesburg. Dr. Mokaya has close to 20 years of experience with a special interest in female fertility and infertility conditions, and is dedicated to supporting women achieve optimal health. Learn more about Dr Tom Mokaya here.

Dr Mark Christian van Der Griendt, is a healthcare practitioner, specialising as a Gynaecologist & Obstetrician at Netcare Parklane Hospital in Johannesburg. Learn more about Dr van Der Griendt here.

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