When Do You Start Showing?

Baby Bump Coming Through: When to Expect Your Tummy to Grow

That first glimpse at a positive pregnancy test is one of the most exciting parts of having a baby. Early pregnancy symptoms start shortly after conception, but the emergence of your cute little baby bump takes a little longer. Once your belly pops, you can finally begin to show off your pregnancy.

When Do You Start to Show?

Close up of pregnant woman holding ultrasound scan

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Pregnant women usually gain about five pounds during the first trimester, but they don't actually start showing until the second trimester. Exactly when you start showing depends on your body. A woman who is very thin before she gets pregnant may begin showing between 12 and 15 weeks. If you have tight abs or a larger stomach before pregnancy, your bump may not noticeably pop until closer to the end of the second trimester.

You don't need to run out and buy maternity clothes at the first sight of your bump. Your regular clothes should still fit for a little while longer even after you start to show. Most women notice their jeans get a little snug around month four.

What Else Happens Around This Time?

The second trimester is a busy time for your baby's development. Your little one starts out roughly the size of a peach and grows to eggplant size by the end of the second trimester. That works out to roughly tripling in size. It's no wonder you really start showing during this time.

Typical milestones include:

  • Bones begin hardening at week 13.
  • The gender becomes visible during week 14.
  • Your little one's eyes start moving in week 16.
  • She grows toenails around week 17.
  • At 18 weeks, your baby begins to hear.
  • Thumb-sucking starts around week 21.
  • You can see hair at week 22.
  • She gets fingerprints and footprints at 23 weeks.
  • By week 25, your baby can respond to sounds.
  • Lung development picks up during week 26.

Another exciting milestone at this time is being able to feel your baby kick for the first time. Moms-to-be often feel those movements by around 18 to 20 weeks, but some first-time moms can't feel the flutters until the end of the second trimester.

You can expect to feel better overall. The second trimester usually brings newfound energy. Most moms no longer deal with morning sickness. This period is often the most enjoyable because you feel better, but your growing stomach isn't getting in the way yet.

Screenings You Can Expect During the Second Trimester

Close up of pregnant woman holding ultrasound scan

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Unless your pregnancy is considered high risk, you can expect OB visits every four weeks throughout the first and second trimesters. High-risk moms may go in more often. Some of those appointments include important screenings that check for potential issues and ensure your little one is staying on track developmentally.

Common screenings include:

  • Multiple marker test: Moms have the option of the multiple marker test usually between weeks 15 and 20. This blood test checks for Down syndrome and neural tube defects.
  • Ultrasound: Somewhere around 20 weeks, you can expect your big ultrasound to check the anatomy and development of your little one. It's also gender-reveal time unless you want to wait until delivery.
  • Glucose screening: Prepare for a not-so-tasty drink between 24 and 28 weeks as part of your gestational diabetes screening. Pass the test, and you're good to go. Fail, and you're up for a longer screening process to verify that you have gestational diabetes. 

High-risk pregnancies may come with additional screening options during the second trimester. The screenings are for specific development issues.