What Happens To Existing Belly When Pregnant?

As your belly grows to make space for your growing baby, you might wonder if the fat packs its bags and moves out. Or maybe you’re crossing your fingers that it might even be used up somehow, like nature’s little pregnancy hack.

Well, we’re going to shine a light on this topic and walk you through what actually happens, step by step. Let’s talk it here:

What happens to your existing belly fat when you’re pregnant?

First off, your body is pretty amazing. During pregnancy, it knows exactly what to do to support you and the baby. What happens to the belly fat? Well, it doesn’t disappear. It only gets a bit overshadowered by your expanding uterus.

As your baby grows, the belly grows too, stretching and adjusting to make enough room. Your body keeps pullling off some impressive rearranging to accomodate your little one. The fat is still there, but as your uterus expands, it might just get pushed aside or stretched out a bit.

Imagine your belly as a balloon which is being blown up from the inside. The fat is just like the balloon’s surface, you know, it’s going to outstretch as the balloon expands.

Additionally, your body stores up fat perfectly during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. This is its own way to ensuring mom and baby have sufficient energy reserves for the journey ahead.

What Happens To Existing Belly When Pregnant


Here’s something you might find amazing: that belly fat plays a fantastic role during pregnancy. It’s not just sitting there; it’s actually a source of energy and helps to protect and nurture your baby.

Just sometimes, your body even use it up to create some necessary hormones to help the journey. As you go through all these changes, it’s absolutely normal to have kind of mixed feelings.

Accepting your new shape can be a journey. Your body is doing something extraordinary. It’s creating life! So give yourself some grace and remember this is temporary and for a beautiful reason.

What should be the Normal?

First trimesterSecond trimesterThird trimester
It’s common for women to gain 1 to 4.5 pounds during the first few months of pregnancy. This early weight gain is not so much from belly fat, but often due to changes in diet or fluid retention as the body adjusts to pregnancyIn the middle months, weight gain should be steadier. A common guideline is to gain about 1 pound a week. This is due to the growth of the baby and necessary changes in the mother’s body.The pattern of weight gain continues at about 1 to 2 pounds per week, reaching a total of 25 to 35 pounds by the end of pregnancy for a woman with a normal pre-pregnancy weight. Belly size increases significantly as the baby grows to full term.

What exactly determines how big your bump will be?

The size of your baby is a factor, but that’s not the only thing to consider. There are some other factors that come at play:

1. Physical/body type

Naturally, tall women have long abdomen that creates more space up and down. So their bumps might spread out and appear smaller.

On the other hand, petite women are likely to have smaller abdomen, which means less room to go but out; thus, a more salient bump.

2. Previous Pregnancies

If this isn’t your first, then your abdominal muscles have been stretched before. Muscle memory is real, Your body remembers being pregnant and might let that bump show sooner than later.

3. Amount of Amniotic Fluid

The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby can vary widely from one pregnancy to another, and yes, it can certainly make your bump look bigger.

4. Your Baby’s Position

Around the end of your pregnancy, the way your baby is chilling (head down, sideways, or somewhere in between) can change the shape and size of your bump. Some positions take up more front-row space than others.

5. Weight Before Pregnancy

Your weight before and during pregnancy can most definitely affect your the size of your bump too. Everyone’s weight journey is different and it can make two bumps look nothing alike even at the same pregnancy stage.

6. Muscle Tone

Strong abdominal muscles might hold your bump in tighter and higher, giving a more different appearance than if your muscles are more relaxed. It’s basically all about the support your baby is getting from your body.

7. Genetics

Lastly, let’s not forget good ol’ genetics. Sometimes the “why” behind your bump size is simply because of the genes passed down from your family.

If your mom, aunt, or grandma had a certain bump shape, there’s a chance you might follow suit.

So, every bump tells a story – and no two are exactly alike. Your body is doing something pretty incredible, and how it chooses to showcase that journey can depend on a variety of factors.

How do you stay healthy during pregnancy?

Staying healthy while expecting might seem like a big challenge, but its really about sticking to some basics that you already know with a few tweaks for your new situation.

Let’s break it down into bite-sized pieces because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good snack?

1. Eat Well

Try to imagine your body as a super efficient machine. You know, it needs the best fuel to function well. With this, I’m referring to the fruits,veggies, lean proteins, whole grains and dairy.

These are full of nutrients and would ensure your baby grows excellently. When choosing dairy products, don’t forget to go for pasteurized ones!

2. Stay Hydrated

You don’t want to desiccate while pregnant. And the only way out is to drink more water. Water helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus as well as promotes digestion. Aim for about 8 to 10 glasses a day – Don’t wait till you’re thirsty.

3. Exercise More

Exercises and pregnancy go together like burger and fries, but with some modifications, of course. Walking, swimmimg, yoga can be great ways to stay active and fit.

These will help minimize the frequent mood swings, improve your sleep and get rid of discomfort from neck and back pains. It’s also okay to slow down and adjust your fitness goals as per your health condition. Your body is doing some pretty heavy lifting already.

4. Catch Enough Rests

When you’re pregnant, it becomes harder to sleep usually because your body is changing and you’re always thinking about something.

Try to get comfortable with extra pillows, and keep a consistent bedtime routine. Good sleep isn’t just about feeling rested; it’s crucial for your health and the baby’s development.

5. Stress Less

Managing stress is also important at this time. You can engage in meditation, maybe read books or bubble baths to help stress.

Be sure to make any of these a part of your day. Talking with your friends and family over phone sounds like a fantastic idea if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

6. Check In with Your Doctor

Regular appointments with your healthcare provider are your GPS through pregnancy. They can offer advices, monitor your health and the baby’s progress as well as answer any of those 3.am questions.

7. Listen to Your Body

Your body is the main player in this journey, so tune in to what it’s telling you. Neither skip rests when you’re tired nor the breakfast when hungry. And always take it easy on yourself. Trust that your body knows what it’s doing.

I would describe pregnancy as a marathon rather than a sprint. And taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your baby. So focus on the basics, and remember you’ve got this!

What happens to existing belly when pregnant? – Final Say

As your pregnancy advances, your belly fat doesn’t just disappear or move somewhere else. It gets pushed aside and stretches to accomodate your bump.

Also your body stores this fat as an energy reserve and use it up by creating essential hormones to assist your journey.

Your bump might have a different shape, size or feel as compared to your pregnant friend, and that could stem from some aforementioned factors like your physique, previous pregnancies and how your body manages its belly fats overall.

Your body is doing what’s best to support your baby. And your main focus should be maintaining a nutritious, healthy diet and exercising as much as you’re comfortable with.

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.