Bump Watch

It’s fair to say that I have always been fascinated with pregnancy, even when I wasn’t keen on having children myself yet. It is an amazing feat that the human body creates a whole tiny human from a single cell, supporting and growing it then expelling a baby into the world. Like so many other things these days, pregnancy has now become the object of cosmetic scrutiny too, from bump watch features of celebrities and their ‘baby bumps’ before even a decent 12 weeks has elapsed, to comments on their weight gain, it seems the pressure is on to not only grow a human, but look good whilst doing it.

On a personal level, I didn’t expect to gain tons of weight in pregnancy as that’s not my natural predisposition anyway but I also didn’t want to. This wasn’t from a vanity perspective, but a health one. Women who gain a lot of weight in pregnancy (in case you’re wondering, the normal range is about 1.5-2.5 stone) are at risk of gestational diabetes and at higher risk of complications in labour and postpartum. That’s not to mention the difficulty of losing it afterwards. Aside from these thoughts, it is a huge shift in your body image and whilst I have loved seeing my baby belly emerge and swell, I still catch sight of myself sideways in shop windows and am surprised at how different I look.

(A selection of bump shots from readers around 20 weeks)

Added to all of those things are the constant comments people feel inclined to make about your changing shape, that you may or may not feel so confident sporting. Anyone who is pregnant or has been will know that they range from the complimentary, ‘You are so neat!’ or ‘It’s all baby, you haven’t gained any weight!’ to the unintentionally panic inducing ‘Look at the size of you!’ and everything in between. I have tried to take them all in my stride – I want to grow a healthy baby, who is gaining weight normally and keep myself healthy enough to breast feed easily afterwards. Comparison is also the thief of joy – my best friend is 6 weeks less pregnant than me and although quite a way off when you compare a 20 and 26 week bump for example, she has also been carrying a completely different way to me, not popping out a bump until much later. At one point I felt like a house by comparison, but I know I was desperate for my bump to pop out and now at term, it all feels like par for the course as I realise I haven’t actually morphed into a baby elephant as it sometimes felt like I would!

(A selection of bump shots from readers around 28-31 weeks)

Lastly, there’s the power of the pregnant blogger (I don’t count myself among). I know before I was pregnant and during, I have looked at my favourite bloggers sporting a neat and fashionably dressed bump with no weight gain and then snapping back to shape almost instantaneously it seems on social media. Whilst I know the reality is not always presented, it’s hard to remember that when fashionable maternity clothes are few and far between and you just can’t stretch that non-maternity dress over your bump anymore!

(A selection of bump shots from readers around term – 37w+)

All this made me think, women carry so differently and look so different in pregnancy, why not make a montage of women, all at the same stage of pregnancy and here are the results. I want to thank each and every one of you that sent in your pictures – I’m so grateful and I loved looking at so many happy, proud, glowing faces. Funny snaps in the booze aisle at the supermarket, holiday pictures, excited dads getting in on the act, post waters breaking grins, and a generally fab time in your lives. This is the real shape of pregnancy, and every single picture is beautiful. Thank you so much!


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17 thoughts on “Bump Watch

  1. As another non-preggo (haha), I also love this post, and it’s far more relatable (to me at least!) than some of the other posts, which are more info-for-the-future…

  2. At 27 weeks pregnant myself it’s great to see such a variety of shapes and sizes. Now trying to work out which photos my own bump most closely ressembles!

    I have put on slightly more weight at this stage than I ideally would have liked – combination of rubbish morning sickness meaning only certain foods stayed down until 20 odd weeks, and SPD pain making all but the most gentle exercise pretty difficult. I’m not sure I could have done anything differently.though.

  3. This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I was the size of a house towards the end and I’ve really struggled to lose the weight. It’s coming off… slowly. We’re all different and nothing showcases that more than pregnancy.

    I always find it hard to participate in discussions about pregnancy, in any respect really, because the response is always the same; “yeah, but you had 2 in there”. It’s pretty lonely as a mummy of multiples at times. *swoons* Oh woe is me. xx

  4. Love this, at 34 weeks i have been getting the “you’re HUUUUGE” comments for about 3 months, and i have tried to politely (and sometimes not so politely) respond by saying that a comment on someone’s body size is still very personal (and a lot of the time insulting) regardless of whether they are growing another human inside them. i know i’m huge, and nothing fits, everything i wear looks like a tent, so don’t make me feel worse by going on about it.

    Every woman’s pregnancy is different, and i remember my first baby i put on 1lb in the first trimester 2 stone in the 2nd and 6lb in the third, my midwife made me cry at my 28wk appointment because her comments were so hurtful, but i carried on eating what i felt i needed to and when, and only put on 2.5stone overall. This time when i was weighed at 28wks i had put on 1.75stone, and have only gained 4b since, so not everyone does the “standard” 1stone in first 28 weeks, 1 stone in last 12 weeks thing that they bang on about. Bottom line, everyone is different, a fact made abundantly clear in the pictures above. I love this post!

  5. I agree, totally uplifting. Now if all of the Mums could come back and confirm if they had a boy or a girl, I can work on my bump shape sex theory….

    So far, the comments I’ve had this week (29-30) include:
    “I’ve never known anyone be so big as you this early…you look full term already”
    “It must be a big baby (me: “its not”)….then its probably just water and you’ll explode all over the delivery room floor. Better tell [Husband] not to wear his good shoes”
    “Are you sure its not twins” (x5)

    Weight wise, its not that I couldn’t give a shit, but I’m not as bothered as I thought I’d be. I actually love having a bump and looking pregnant – its the first time in my life anything has ever been bigger than my boobs. Weight wise, I got married so was at my thinnest ever, had my thyroid out as soon as we got back from honeymoon, put on a stone and a half as a result and then got pregnant the following month so I have no idea what my actual accurate pre pregnancy weight is as it, had I not got pregnant, would have settled down post thyroid op. It adds considerably less stress that way!

    As a guide, I put a stone and a half in the first trimester, half a stone in the second and I’ll let you know about the third in a bit. Even my half a stone in the second was the first half of the second so the last few weeks, I’ve barely put on any weight whatsoever, despite the bump having shot out in the week 25-30 growth spurt. Like my preggo pal Frances, this is probably as a result of the crappy morning sickness I had where I could only eat when I had bread first to line my stomach!

    I actually had to have a gestational diabetes test this week (it was fine…as expected) because one of my results showed up something whereby by body was burning fat, not calories (I’m sure there is a more medical term- something to do with keys?). Anyway, it turns out I’m not eating regularly enough so on that note, I’m off to get my mid afternoon snack…..

  6. Lovely post! So interesting to see all different shapes and sizes and that last pics reminds me how big my bump was! The body is such an amazing thing!!! X

  7. Oh wow, I missed this yesterday, but it is so beautifully done. I remember wanting a bump early on, but it did not really become apparent until around 24 weeks .
    We are all so different -anyway- and of course, this is the case during pregnancy as well and from what I know, for a same woman, different or subsequent pregnancies also have different effects on your body (you show earlier, you carry lower…)

  8. Fantastic post – honoured to be included. It’s so lovely how different we all are. I put on 2.5 stone during my pregnancy with Calum, and he turned out to be 6lb10 when born xx

  9. I love this post, thanks for including me! It’s so lovely to celebrate our differences and demonstrate just how different we all are in pregnancy! There is no ‘norm’ and this blog post shows that beautifully! Thank you!

  10. You know what I would also love? Photos of postpartum tummies, because honestly that was one of the most shocking parts of pregnancy for me. I knew I’d still have a bump, so it wasn’t that. Just the whole jelly bellyness of it all. Especially after months of a super tight stomach that makes you feel like you haven’t put on a pound on your tum more than you needed to. Ha. The reality wasn’t nice. A year on it is back to normal, I’ve lost track when I got pre pregnancy(ish!) elastic back in my skin.

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