When will my baby bump start showing?

Eagerly awaiting the chance to rock your new maternity wardrobe? Or, are you more the let’s-hide-this-from-HR-as-long-as-possible type? Some ladies love rocking the bump, but others are happy to dress in ambiguous, shapeless dresses for nine months. Whichever camp you’re in, that’s cool. This is your pregnancy after all – do it how you want!

If you’re at the start of your pregnancy journey – battling all of those icky early pregnancy symptoms – you may be wondering when this elusive bump will be making its appearance. Well you’re in luck. We’re here to answer all your bump questions, including “When does a baby bump show?”. (Spoiler: It’s different for everyone.)

You’ll notice it before others will

Looking pregnant is really a perception thing. You’ll probably notice it before others notice it, because you (hopefully) see your own body and belly more than anyone else. You might be surprised how oblivious some people are to your body shape. They might not even cotton on until your third trimester, when you’re just about ready to pop. You, on the other hand, have probably been tracking your baby bump by week, carefully watching its growth.

Many mamas swear they notice a first trimester baby bump, but it’s most common for your pregnancy to become noticeable in the second trimester, around 12–16 weeks. Of course, there are many factors that may affect when you start showing in pregnancy, and it can be very different from one woman to the next.

What can affect when your pregnancy shows

First pregnancy vs. subsequent baby bumps

Pregnancy can be quite different the second time around – and all times thereafter if you dare to go beyond two children. (*Applause*)

Your bump is most likely to show earlier on in your second pregnancy – a noticeable first trimester baby bump is not off the cards This is because your muscles stretch out in your first pregnancy, and never really go back to their original state. They’re all prepped to accommodate a bump again. 

Body shape and weight

Women with small frames and not much body fat tend to be more noticeably pregnant earlier. Curvier mamas, on the other hand, may not have as pronounced a baby bump until late in the second trimester or early in the third trimester.

If you’ve been working to abate early pregnancy hunger, you may feel that your bump appears earlier because all your pants suddenly don’t fit. You’re not alone there!


This probably seems obvious, but if you’ve got more than one baby on board, you’re more likely to show earlier on in the pregnancy. Mothers of twins can expect to see their bump develop in the first trimester, as early as 6 weeks

You’ll likely look more pregnant than you are throughout the whole pregnancy, too. For example, don’t be alarmed if people assume you’re about to go into labor when you’re only 26 weeks along… you might look as pregnant as someone 36 weeks along! Hey, more babies mean more bump.

How to dress with a baby bump

Whether you want to embrace the bump or try and hide it, it’s totally up to you. Perhaps you’ve popped early, but don’t want your clients to know you’re pregnant yet. Or maybe you want everyone on the subway to offer you a seat (it’s a rite of passage, c’mon). 

Here’s some completely unqualified fashion advice from our team of mamas who’ve been through the awkwardness of dressing a bump.

If you want to hide the bump

  • Wear loose, flowy tops and dresses.
  • Choose clothes with thicker materials.
  • Wear long tops that cover your pants buttons (which you’ll probably leave undone during that awkward in-between stage before maternity pants fit you).
  • Get stretchy pants! Elastic waistbands can be tucked under the bump, or might stretch over it. Tight pants with a flowy top over them can draw attention to your smokin’ legs.

If you want to show off the bump

  • Wear stretchy leggings or skirts that cover the bump, then knot a t-shirt over the top. It looks super cute.
  • Go bodycon! Tight-fitting dresses are absolutely allowed during pregnancy, and they feel fabulous.
  • Wear maternity jeans. These can either sit under the bump, or have material that stretches over the bump. Paired with a nice top, jeans can make you feel somewhat ‘normal’ with your bump.
  • Wear playsuits and jumpsuits. These can be really comfy, and often have room to fit your bump too.

Whether you’re taking cute ‘baby bump by week’ pics to track your belly’s progress, or if you haven’t looked at yourself in the mirror for weeks, your beautiful bump is going to show in its own time. Enjoy this strange yet exciting time for your body!

Share this with a fellow mama who’s eagerly awaiting her bump to show.

You’ll find more helpful tips, high fives, and encouraging pats on the bum on Mumli, your pocket-sized personal assistant for all things motherhood – coming to your home screen soon. Join the waitlist now.

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