Pregnancy is an extremely thrilling period in a woman’s life. Numerous changes happening to her body cause a lot of questions about the reasons they happen and ways to handle them as calmly and effectively as possible.
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Often, your belly may just seem larger because it has “popped” so suddenly, or because you were thin before pregnancy. But in some cases it can actually be bigger than normal – and the reasons are not always benign.
- Lack of muscle tone – if you don’t exercise, your abs and abdominal wall may be quite loose, allowing your belly to expand fast; this is not dangerous, but can result in body image issues afterwards (see below);
- Repeated pregnancies – if you have given birth before, your abdominal wall is already stretched, even if you exercise a lot; the muscles are “used” to expansion;
- Wrong conception date – if you have miscalculated the date of your last period, you may be further into the pregnancy than you think: in this case, it is normal that your belly is larger;
- Gestational diabetes – it is quite common for women to develop diabetes during pregnancy. It has no symptoms but can lead to macrosomia (a very large foetus that may require a C-section) or excess of amniotic fluid around the baby. Both are expressed in a rapidly expanding, large belly (more on gestational diabetes here)
- Excess weight – while it’s true that the belly pops more dramatically in skinny girls, obese women often do have larger pregnant bellies.
- Carrying twins or triplets – the rate of twin births has risen by almost 80% since 1980 (full statistics here);
- Benign tumors – so-called molar pregnancies – when cysts grow in the uterus instead of an embryo – and other types of fibroid tumors can make the belly larger; they usually cause abdominal pain.
- Bad diet – overeating, indulging in sweets, or a lack of fiber can lead to bloating and gas.
Meeting the belly challenge
Even if you don’t have diabetes and your baby is fine, a rapidly growing belly can be a great nuisance. Use our tips to avoid the consequences!
- Talk to your doctor! If you feel your belly is growing too fast, you have to be checked for diabetes, fibrous growth, and excess of fluid.
- Exercise. If you are only planning to have kids, start working on your abs now. If you are already pregnant, make sure to stick to a special exercise program (like this one)
- Healthy diet – even if all you want are pickles and chocolate, you must still get enough proteins, fiber, and vitamins for both you and the baby.
- Stretch marks – the faster your belly expands, the more the risk of stretch marks. The key is keeping the skin elastic. Your doctor can prescribe a medicinal cream, or you can use almond or rosehip oil. Prevention is important, too: some studies show that hyaluronic acid can help (more details here)
- Support your back – a large belly can result in back pain. A special maternal shaper or supporter can make a great difference.
For many women, rapid growth of their belly can cause great concerns and cause issues with their body image, making them feel fat and bloated. In most cases, there is no danger, but only your doctor will tell you for sure. In any case, make sure you take good care of your baby bump… and of yourself!