Second Pregnancy: Is it Normal to Show Earlier?

This is my second child and I am just finishing my 18th week of pregnancy. I've gained 13 pounds. A lot of people think I'm further along than I am. At my appointment last week my doctor said that my uterus is about two fingers from my belly button and that's right where I should be. Should I be looking so large already?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

How a mother carries her baby and how and when she "shows" are dependent upon her height, weight, abdominal muscle tone, her parity (how many previous babies), the route of the previous births (cesarean versus vaginal birth), the size of the baby, the shape of her pelvis, even the curvature of her spine -- just too many variables to make judgements from just appearances.

When a woman lies on her back, as she does for the typical "tummy check" at her prental visit, all things tend to equalize. The "fundal measurement" in centimeters and the experience of the care provider, along with dates, ultrasound if this is done, quickening (fetal movement perception) are all useful guides to gestational age.

In your case, it does sound as though you are right on for your dates. At about 18 weeks, the uterus should be about one fingerbreadth below the umbilicus. But it may also be at the level of the umbilicus too and still be normal.

Comments that people make sometimes serve to confuse and upset the mother and I would not pay them much heed. If you are sure of your dates and you have a fairly regular cycle, that is the best guide.

I would try not to worry about this. If you are concerned, you could ask for an ultrasound to confirm your baby's gestational age and to make sure that this is not a multiple gestation. This is a good time -- 18 to 20 weeks -- to have an ultrasound for dating purposes.

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