Is My Bump the Right Shape?
A bump's position and shape are often the topic for hot debates among the more superstitious. Some people swear if you are carrying high or wide, it's a girl; and if you are carrying low or out in front, it's a boy (of course, there is no medical proof to back this up).
The actual shape of the bump itself, not only the position, can cause prospective mothers some concern. In most cases your baby will be head down, and face down, in your uterus; however, a small percentage of babies assume different positions. If your baby is lying sideways (the transverse position) then it is no wonder that your bump may look a little "different" until your baby changes position.
Will Size Determine Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are most common on the abdomen, but can also develop on the breasts, thighs, buttocks, and hips. About half of pregnant women develop stretch marks, and although their cause is not well understood, stretch marks have been linked to increased pregnancy hormones and stretching of the tissue under the skin.
Pregnancy and Birth: Your Questions Answered, by Dr. Christoph Lees, Dr. Karina Reynolds, and Grainne McCartan, adds, "Stretch marks are not directly related to how much your stomach has had to expand. They are probably connected with the collagen and elastin content of your skin. The marks can be red and livid in pregnancy, but in the weeks and months after the delivery, they lose their color, usually become silvery-white and less obvious." Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent stretch marks. Creams, oils (such as vitamin E), and other moisturizing treatments have not been shown to prevent stretch marks—but they do, however, help alleviate dry skin and may reduce itching.
If you have any questions about the size or appearance of your belly, consult your healthcare provider or midwife to put your mind at rest. Don't be afraid to ask questions—they're they to help you.
The most important thing to remember is that all pregnancy bumps are different. Likewise, comparing tummies with other pregnant friends can be a lot of fun, just don't get too worried if your bump is smaller (or larger) than someone else's. If you are doing all you can to ensure the safety and health of your baby, you will find that your bump worries are just part of the pregnant package. So, enjoy every minute of the experience!