Baby bump basics

From your baby’s position to your belly button,
we explain what’s happening to your expanding tummy.


Changes in hormone levels during your pregnancy can produce a wide range of skin changes. Never fear — most of these changes disappear shortly after delivery.

Many pregnant women have itchy skin, which happens as the skin stretches.

Be sure to moisturize your skin, use unscented moisturizer, and mild soap when washing. And avoid taking hot showers or baths, which can dry your skin.

Severe itchiness, particularly in the third trimester, can be a sign of intrahepatic cholestasis, a liver problem that affects a small number of pregnant women. If you suspect you may have this condition, see your doctor immediately.

Baby position

Your baby will toss and turn and hold many different positions within the womb during your pregnancy. The different positions your baby may take will play a role in how she is born.

Breech is the position in which baby’s buttocks or feet are nearest to the birth canal.

When your baby is lying sideways, that is referred to as the transverse position.

If your baby is head down and curled in the “fetal position,” she’s considered vertex. Most babies are in the vertex position when labour begins; some will move to the vertex position during labour.

Stretch marks

As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby, you’ll likely develop stretch marks, caused by tiny tears in the tissue that lies just below your skin and helps it stretch.

You won’t be able to avoid stretch marks entirely during your pregnancy. They usually fade and become less noticeable after delivery.

It will help if you gain only the recommended amount of weight for your size, and do so slowly.

Bump size

As with babies, bumps come in all shapes and sizes.

Most bellies don’t reveal a pregnancy until the second trimester. You may “show” earlier if you have been pregnant before or your ab muscles are lax.

But the size of your bump doesn’t necessarily relate to baby’s weight. Fluid, your own physique and pregnancy conditions have much to do with it.

The movement

One of the most exciting pregnancy moments is feeling those first flutters of your baby kicking.

You should feel your baby’s first movements between weeks 16 and 25. If this is your first pregnancy, it may be closer to 25 weeks.

Pregnant women often describe their baby’s movements as butterflies, nervous twitches, or a tumbling motion.

By your second and third trimesters, you’ll be able to feel your baby’s kicks, jabs, and elbows.

On the line

While your baby is completely cosy and content inside your belly, there’s unusual stuff happening outside, such as the dark line running down the centre of your belly, from just under your belly button to your pubic area.

This “linea nigra,” caused by pigmentation in the skin where the muscles separate slightly to accommodate your growing baby, will fade a few months after your baby is born.

Exposure to the sun can intensify skin discolouration.

The navel

It might not be fashionable, but expect your navel to start poking its way through your clothes around the end of the second trimester.

What’s happening: your rapidly expanding uterus pushes your abdomen forward. A popped-out belly button during pregnancy is harmless and inevitable, whether you had an “innie” or an “outie” to begin with.

What you can do about it: Nothing. It will go back to its regular position a few months after delivery.