How do you feel when pregnant?
Pregnancy brings about many changes over 9 months, the most visible being the appearance of a baby bump. If you’re a first-time mother, this may be the most wondrous and curious part of pregnancy as you experience your belly getting bigger and bigger. But what exactly does your belly feel like, as it changes to accommodate your growing baby?
Growing your baby bump may not be the exciting start to your pregnancy that you envisioned, as bumps rarely start showing this early. Often, the earliest physical signs in the belly area, e.g. cramping, are mistaken for PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome). It may even take weeks before realising you’re pregnant as belly changes are felt rather than seen in this trimester.
Your tummy may start to bloat in the latter weeks, but it is often still unnoticeable to others. This may be a good thing if you’re not yet ready to share your news, or may be a period of restless anticipation to show off your baby bump. Either way, this is the best time to wear all your favourite clothes while they still fit.
Your belly undergoes the most exciting changes this trimester as mothers typically start to show during this time. While growing pains, such as round ligament pain, are typical as your body stretches to fit your rapidly growing uterus, fret not as this period is when you’ll also feel the first foetal movements! They start off feeling like flutters in your tummy and strengthens over the weeks, before eventually turning into recognisable baby kicks.
Most first-time mothers also tend to ‘pop’ later in this trimester, seemingly sprouting a much larger bump overnight. A pregnancy pillow may now be a good investment as it helps cushion your growing belly as you sleep. Enjoy this trimester, often described as the most physically comfortable, while it lasts!
As your uterus continues to grow and takes up more space, your bump will start to feel crowded. Difficulty breathing, heartburn and needing to frequently pee may soon be the norm, alongside daily movements and minor aches. During this stage, a belly band may come in handy in supporting your heavier belly.
Baby’s kicks are now visible from the outside, which may feel either fascinating or weird, but are often a source of delight for those around you. As your body prepares for the upcoming labour, harmless Braxton-Hicks contractions may be felt. These practice labour contractions feel like a tightening of your belly and go away upon changing positions. As your due date approaches, do talk to your health provider about how to differentiate them from actual labour contractions.
Growing a belly bump over 9 months can be a fascinatingly unique experience for each first-time mother. It can bring about a lot of joy but also certain discomforts, so do check in with your provider if something feels wrong. Most importantly, remember to enjoy these precious moments as you nurture your baby’s growth even before you meet them.