Will I Look Pregnant If I'm Fat?

Pregnant Women is waiting for the c-section in her room.
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If you are overweight and have become pregnant, you may wonder whether your baby bump will be obvious and people will know that you are expecting. Women of every size often wonder when their pregnancy will show. If you consider yourself to be fat, you may wonder whether it's a matter of "if" and not "when." Will you reach a point in your pregnancy where you look pregnant rather than fat?

The answer is that this varies from woman to woman. You may wind up looking very pregnant. Or, you might just look larger than before. This is not just the case for women who are heavier—there are women who were not overweight before pregnancy whose baby bumps fall into the "I don't look pregnant" category.

Your Changing Shape During Pregnancy

Your belly shape will change. Each woman carries extra weight in different areas when not pregnant. When pregnant, some develop a well-rounded belly while others are all out front. No one can make a prediction which will happen to you. The changes will be most evident to you and those who know you well, particularly when naked.

While you may note some changes earlier in pregnancy, the uterus first expands beyond the pelvis in the second trimester. Weeks 12 to 16 are when most women start to look obviously pregnant. By the middle of the second trimester, they find that maternity clothes are more appropriate for their changing shape. You may also notice a change in your shape by that point, although the timing will be individual.

Showing Your Pregnancy

The question really comes to how you let others know that you're pregnant while you're in those in-between stages of showing. Once you are ready to let everyone to know you are pregnant, you might think about dressing the part. Start wearing maternity clothes rather than wearing your normal wardrobe. This can emphasize your pregnant belly and send signals to others that you are expecting.

Weight Gain Guidelines

If you are overweight with a BMI from 25 to 29.9 before pregnancy, you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. If your BMI was 30 or greater, you should gain 11 to 20 pounds. Those numbers double if you are expecting twins. This weight gain is healthy.

Pregnancy is a great time to focus on eating a balanced diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. You can use it as a time to rid your diet of added sugars, solid fats, and less nutritious foods that don't benefit you or your baby. You can use pregnancy as a time to track your diet. You won't need any extra calories in the first trimester and only 340 more calories per day than usual in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.


Exercise is healthy for you and your baby during pregnancy. If you have been active, it is usually safe and recommended to continue with moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking. If you have any restrictions, discuss them with your doctor. Exercise can help you maintain muscle and fitness and make you feel better about your body at any size.

View Article Sources
  • Weight Gain During Pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm.