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Does Bump Size Matter?

Posted Jun 20 2011 7:00am

By Eirian Hallinan

Baby bumps come in all shapes and sizes. You are more likely to have a neat bump with your first child but with further pregnancies your muscles become more relaxed and your bump can spread out more. The shape of your bump can also depend on how many babies you are expecting, the amount of amniotic fluid you have in there and also what position your baby is lying in.

If you are underweight and not eating enough food then this can mean your baby will weigh less. It can also cause premature births so it is vital that you eat enough nutritional food and do not go for too long without eating.

If you are overweight and your BMI is over 30 then complications could arise with your pregnancy as it can cause diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. It is important to eat sensibly, reducing your sugar and fat intake if you are overweight. This can help reduce the risk of any health problems for your baby.

A large baby does not necessarily mean a harder or slower birth. It is more to do with the position of your baby and what state of relaxation you can maintain that affects the labour. You need to have good support, be mobile, relaxed and upright for as long as possible during established labour and this is the case with any size baby you are expecting.

Some people think that smaller babies are easier to pop out! This is not necessarily the case and actually they can take longer than larger babies. Women who diet during their pregnancies in the hope that they will have smaller babies that will come into the world quickly are misled.

A long time ago it was thought that a woman’s height determined her ability to give birth. This is now known not to be the case but it is known now that babies grow to fit. If you are of small stature then it is more likely that your baby won’t be huge but is not always the case. If your baby is so big that it struggles to fit through the pelvis then signs of this will be noticed during the labour.


Some expectant mothers worry that their baby will be too small. There is a big difference between a baby that is just small and the right size for you and a baby which is small because it has not grown and developed sufficiently causing it health problems. During your pregnancy your midwife will have a growth chart which will be marked every time she measures your uterus and this will happen from about twenty-five weeks. If your baby is small but is the correct size for you then the growth chart will show a curve but if the growth of the uterus is restricted then the line on the chart will drop and you will probably be referred to an obstetrician who will closely monitor your pregnancy.

If your baby is big because you are overweight caused by eating lots of fats and sugars then it does increase the likelihood of your baby becoming an overweight child if he follows a similar diet. If your baby is of a healthy size for you then he is likely to continue to grow at a healthy rate. Big babies can run in families as small babies can too but it is to with social, environmental factors as well as genetics.

Bigger bumps do not always mean that your body is more heavily burdened. Whatever the size of your bump it is advisable to take gentle exercise regularly which will help strengthen your body so it is not put under too much strain.

Some interesting facts:

  • Large babies over 9lb 9oz are described as being macrosomic
  • Scans that assess a baby’s size are often 10 – 15% inaccurate
  • Smaller babies are born in communities which live at higher altitudes

Eirian Hallinan has written numerous articles in the parenting field . She believes in healing naturally, first, especially when it comes to infant colic .

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