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Belly Comparisons: Pregnant Stomach vs. Fat Stomach

Belly Comparisons: Pregnant Stomach vs. Fat Stomach

If you ask about the difference between a pregnant stomach and a fat stomach, to your surprise, they both are considerably different things. 

When a woman is pregnant, the stomach will not necessarily grow as pregnancy doesn’t develop there. Rather, it develops in a woman’s uterus. If your upper abdomen is growing, it indicates that you’re gaining weight, whereas an increased lower abdomen appears as pregnancy. 

It’s worth noting that the upper abdomen is where the stomach is located. And this is where your food goes which may further lead to weight gain

A pregnant woman starts experiencing different symptoms that are absent in the case of a fat woman. Other than missing periods, fatigue is a common sign of pregnancy. But not all women suffer from this symptom. However, there’s no absolute rule that one can use to differentiate between a pregnant belly and a fat belly. 

If you want to get an in-depth answer, I’d recommend you keep on reading. Throughout this article, I’ll provide some useful insights that might help you differentiate the both.

So, let’s get into it to get our facts straight…

Pregnancy Symptoms vs. Obesity Symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms Vs. Obesity symptoms: An in-depth comparison
The symptoms a pregnant woman feel are different from the signs of being fat.

There’s no way a woman can tell for sure if she’s pregnant or fat. However, some signs may help you tell both apart. 

Pregnancy SymptomsObesity Symptoms
It develops in your uterusIt doesn’t grow in your uterus
The lower level of the abdomen will start growingThe upper level of the abdomen will start growing
Missing menstrual periodsNot missing menstrual periods
Morning sickness in some casesNo morning sickness
Swollen feet in most scenarios at some point during this cycle Swollen feet 
VomitingNo vomiting
Food intoleranceNo food intolerance 
Symptoms of pregnancy and obesity

Most of us associate missing menstrual periods with pregnancy, however, this is not always true. There might be some other causes behind this. It could be stress, weight loss, PCOS, or other physical or mental issues. 

Swollen feet are so far a common symptom among fat and expecting women. The best way to find out whether it’s fat or pregnancy is to visit a gynecologist. 

How Much Does It Take To Grow a Pregnant Belly?

If you are pregnant, your belly will grow more quickly than those who are gaining weight. Here’s a little breakdown of your belly progression: 

First trimesterNo signs of increased belly
Early second trimester (3 months)A tiny bump
Different stages of a baby bump

It may surprise you that:

  • As compared to your first pregnancy, your belly starts showing earlier during your second pregnancy. 
  • Your weight also plays a vital role. If you’re skinny or someone with normal weight, you’ll see your baby bump after 12 weeks. 
  • Those with extra weight will see it after week 16. 

This video shows what you should expect from one week pregnancy.

One week pregnancy symptoms

How Fast A Fat Stomach Grows?

How fast a fat stomach starts showing up depends on how many extra calories you’re consuming. If you’re taking 500 extra calories than what you usually ingest, you’re more likely to gain up to 6 kgs within a short period of two months. The fat stomach grows even faster if you consume more calories than 500. 

However, there are no scientific facts that could exactly tell you how fast a fat stomach will grow. The fact that a pregnant belly grows fast is one of the things that could set a fat and pregnant belly apart. 

Can You Tell You’re Pregnant By Feeling Your Belly? 

Can you tell you're pregnant by touching your belly?
You can’t really tell the difference by touching your belly.

If it’s your first few weeks or even months of being pregnant, you may not be able to tell by touching your belly. Also, a non-pregnant woman’s body doesn’t stay in the same shape and keeps fluctuating in a timely manner. 

At least for 4 months of pregnancy, nothing would stick out. However, if you’ve missed periods, it might be one of the indications. In rare cases, women have long cycles and don’t even notice if the menstrual period is absent or not. 

The majority of women face symptoms of fatigue and nausea, while some don’t. So, there’s no way you could tell this by feeling your belly. However, taking a test would be the only way you can confirm it. Therefore, I would recommend you get yourself checked by a specialist. 

Are Tight Belly And Pregnant Belly Same?

The abdomen level where the uterus is located gets firm with the baby. It feels like a semi hard inflated balloon. However, a tight belly doesn’t always mean that a lady is pregnant. There could be a lot of other possibilities. It’s important to note that bloating is one of them. Sometimes gas gets trapped in your belly which also makes your stomach hard. 

You may confuse swelling caused by bloating with pregnancy. Moreover, the signs of bloating such as swollen feet and legs are very similar to pregnancy. Sometimes, your abdomen also retains water which causes bloating.

How Does A Pregnant Belly Feel Like?

Since every pregnancy is different, every woman’s experience during the process would differ. Your stomach will get harder with every passing day. By the time you reach your 6th month, your belly will start getting heavier. If you’ve ever been fat, it’s pretty much the same feeling in the initial months. 

You’ll watch your 8 and 9 months to be more uncomfortable as you can’t sit or sleep properly. Some women have food intolerance which makes this time more challenging for them. 

Also, if you are pregnant with twins your belly size will significantly be bigger than that of a single child bearing belly.

Fat Stomach vs. Pregnant Stomach: What’s The Difference?

What's the difference between fat belly and pregnant belly?
There’s a lot of difference between the two

The first difference between a fat stomach and a pregnant belly would be how high or low it is. If your belly is growing in the lower abdomen, there are chances that you’re pregnant. In case of a higher belly, you’re definitely gaining weight. 

Additionally, a pregnant belly would be narrower while a fat stomach would be wider. In very rare cases, you’ll see a baby bump wider. 

Symptoms like missed periods, food intolerances, and morning sickness also indicate pregnancy. Additionally, the baby bump will be for 9 months, while a fat stomach may keep growing. 

Another significant difference is a protruding belly button. With increased fetal weight during 2nd and 3rd trimester, the belly button sometimes becomes visible from above the clothes too. No such thing happens with a fat belly.

A pregnant belly is round and firm like a bowl whereas a fat belly appears more like layers or tyres on the abdominal area.

Final Thoughts

Since there will be no baby bump in the initial stages of pregnancy, a few signs may confirm the news. If your menstrual cycle is disturbed for a month or two, you should take the test. 

On the other hand, a fat stomach will not grow as fast as a baby bump. Also, the symptoms in both situations will be different. Gaining too much weight can cause health problems. While that’s not the case with pregnancy. Your belly would be reduced after giving birth.

It’s always best to consult a gynecologist to clear up any confusion. 

Related Reads

A web story that differentiates this in a summarized manner can be found here.

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