Early pregnancy fatigue, morning sickness, facial skin impurities, and a heightened sense of taste and smell are just some of the pregnancy signs you may be experiencing right now. But what's up with that abdominal bloating? You look like you are pregnant, but it isn't the baby yet.
Pregnancy hormones attack!
Women's bodies tend to undergo noticeable changes throughout the menstrual cycle. Those ladies who have paid attention to their bodies just before a period is due will know that they don't just feel a little more moody and emotional, but also that their abdomens may be a little bloated.
Cramping and abdominal discomfort is also quite common in those days before menstruation. Early pregnancy tends to come with much the same symptoms. You may look pregnant already, but it's not because of your tiny baby, who is really no bigger than a pea at this point. It's your changing hormonal cocktail, dominated by progesterone (which also plays a crucial role during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when you are not pregnant). What's happening that makes your abdomen bloated?
After conception, your fertilized egg slowly traveled down to the uterus where it implanted itself into the lining of your uterus. That lining, called the endometrium, was already thickened to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy. Now that your fertilized egg actually implanted, the endometrium is even thicker than it usually is at the end of a menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, a woman's blood volume rises by 50 percent.
This process is gradual, but before the placenta starts developing you'll find a lot of that extra blood within the uterus' lining which is now providing a nourishing environment for your baby. It is no wonder, then, that you are a little bloated and tender. Resist the temptation to have a hot bath or shower to get some relief from any tender and crampy feelings you have. Overheating is not beneficial to a developing embryo. You'll be feeling low on energy during this point of pregnancy anyway simply take it easy, if you can.
Are you gassy?
Pregnancy hormones also relax your joints and muscles. This helps accommodate your baby later on in pregnancy, as it takes up more space. It will also allow your baby to pass through the birth canal during labor and delivery. Your intestines are also affected by this change. Digestion slows down, and more liquids are absorbed during the absorption phase of digestion. Your stools may be harder as a result, and you could suffer from pregnancy constipation.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially just plain water, will help prevent constipation. If you are already constipated, prune juice and flaxseeds will help. The fact that your digestive system works more slowly during pregnancy also means that you are more likely to be gassy. Your first trimester abdominal bloating is therefore partly caused by something far less romantic than a growing baby by bacteria releasing gasses. If you're extra windy during these early weeks of pregnancy, don't worry. It's normal.
When will you start showing?
So, when will you develop a bona fide baby bump? Usually not until the second trimester. By 16 to 20 weeks, you should really look pregnant as a result of your baby's growth spurts. First-time mothers don't usually need to start wearing maternity clothes until that point. If your clothes are getting tight, belly bands can help out.
Some mothers also opt to wear more loose fitting clothes, or A-line skirts and dresses that are more comfortable and also conceal a growing abdomen somewhat. This shouldn't stop you from shopping around for maternity clothes that you like now, though. The internet allows you to "window shop" for maternity clothes that come in styles that meet your needs.