Let’s talk weight! Your little bundle of joy now weighs two full kilos – and just a few months ago, it was the size of a blackberry. More weight is to come. Your baby will gain 250 grams of subcutaneous fat per week, and muscles will develop too. Lanugo hair – the rough little hairs that covered the body – is disappearing and the skin is smoothing out; it is no longer as wrinkly as it was. The capacity to regulate body temperature has also matured, even if this will be refined once the baby arrives! All of the organs, from the lungs to the respiratory centre, are fully developed.
Maybe your belly has dropped; maybe it’s still too early. Many people find it liberating when it happens, because there’s space for the lungs to breathe. Some even say they get their waist back! But not everyone’s belly will drop; it might happen just before or during delivery. It isn’t uncommon to find it a little uncomfortable when the head touches the muscles of the pelvic floor – there may be a tingling sensation, kind of like it’s going numb. Try lying on your side. This will reduce the pressure on your pelvis, nerves and blood vessels, which can make you feel better. Finding clothes that feel comfortable during this part of your pregnancy isn’t always easy. You might feel big and puffy, and have zero desire to search for maternity wear that you can only use for the next few weeks before it’s all too small or feels uncomfortable. One idea is to skip the maternity department and think about what you feel like wearing instead. An oversized T-shirt, a pair of comfy tights, unbuttoned shorts or a roomy dress often work well. Emphasizing your belly instead of hiding it can also be fun; see what happens with a fitted stretchy dress or pencil skirt with a soft waist. If you’re not a fan of fitted clothing, you can still mark your belly with a belt or an elastic waistband worn just above it.
Pregnant bellies can look very different, in terms of both size and shape. Many pregnant people unfortunately have to deal with clumsy comments about their bellies: that you’re too big, too small, that you must be expecting twins, that you should stop eating biscuits, and that you should think of your figure. Comments on your belly can be incredibly hurtful, spark negative thoughts about food, and contribute to loads of unnecessary anxiety. For example, hearing that your belly is ‘sooooo small’ could make you worry that your baby isn’t growing and developing as it should be. Few people would even think of commenting on someone else’s body like this if pregnancy weren’t at play. But as soon as someone is expecting a baby, it seems like the pregnant body is a topic for public discussion and it’s fine to say whatever you think. It isn’t, of course, and as a partner, you can stand up and say something if you hear someone comment on the size of a pregnant woman. And no! You can’t determine the baby’s sex based on belly shape. That’s just a myth.