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Why Does My Pregnant Belly Look Smaller In The Morning?

Baby bumps are amazing, aren’t they? A woman’s body will grow and stretch and then stretch some more as her baby grows inside, it really is an amazing thing to see. However, baby bumps can also be really confusing!

Many pregnant women will notice their bump change dramatically throughout their pregnancy and sometimes it is not just from one week to the next, changes can happen all in the same day.

One baby bump change that many pregnant women experience is their pregnant belly looks smaller in the morning than at night. Let’s delve into why this happens and why, in most instances, there is no reason to be concerned.

Is It Normal For Your Belly To Shrink During Pregnancy?

When women get pregnant they know that their body is going to change. You can never predict exactly how your body will respond to pregnancy but the majority of women will gain weight and grow a blossoming baby bump.

Pregnant bellies come in all different shapes and sizes but the one thing they all have in common is that they grow larger over nine months until you eventually give birth. 

Is it normal for your belly to shrink during pregnancy? The answer to this question is yes and no. During a healthy pregnancy, your belly should grow over time, not shrink.

As your uterus expands and your baby grows bigger, you should notice your own body growing too. If you notice that your belly bump has stopped growing, or is getting smaller over time then you will need to seek medical advice from your OBGYN.

A shrinking bump or bump that has stopped growing could be a sign that your baby is not growing properly or something is wrong with the pregnancy.

Your OBGYN will measure and examine your bump and potentially also perform an ultrasound scan to check everything is ok with the baby. 

Whilst a bump that doesn’t grow or is consistently shrinking over time can indicate that something is wrong, a baby bump that shrinks in the morning and then looks bigger over the course of the day is completely normal.

Your baby bump looking like it has shrunk overnight is not a reason to be concerned, it happens regularly during pregnancy.

pregnant woman standing1

Why Does My Pregnant Belly Look Smaller In The Morning?

There are many reasons why you may wake up in the morning with a smaller pregnant belly than the one you went to sleep with. Many different factors can influence the shape and size of your baby bump.

Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why your pregnant belly looks smaller in the morning: 

Your abdominal muscles are stronger

When you wake in the morning, your body has been resting overnight and that includes your stomach muscles. In the morning your core muscles will be stronger as they have rejuvenated and rested during the night while you have been sleeping.

Like any other muscle, your abdominal muscles will be tired with continuous use and your core muscles will be working really hard throughout the day supporting and carrying your baby bump.

When these muscles are tighter in the mornings, your bump may appear smaller. However, as the day goes on and your core muscles begin to tire and relax under the weight of your uterus and baby, your bump will start to look bigger.

When you go to bed and rest, your muscles will rest too and be tighter again in the morning and the whole process repeats.

Your baby bump hasn’t shrunk overnight, it is just your muscles have more strength to keep your bump ‘in’ during the morning time than they do later on in the day. 

There is less bloating

Bloating happens when we eat certain foods or drink certain foods that cause gas to become trapped in the digestive tract. The pregnancy hormone progesterone slows down digestion and this can lead to trapped gas and bloating.

People tend to be less bloated in the morning and this can be why your pregnant belly looks smaller than during the afternoon and evening.

If you eat and drink a lot of foods during the day that leaves you feeling bloated, your belly may look considerably smaller in the mornings when it is empty. 

Your stomach is empty

A pregnant belly isn’t all baby. Your baby bump will of course mostly by your growing baby and uterus, but your stomach and other organs are all still in there somewhere too.

When you wake up with a smaller baby bump, it doesn’t mean your baby is getting smaller, it may just be because your stomach is empty. As you eat and drink throughout the day you will fill your stomach up and the overall appearance of your pregnant belly will look bigger.

pregnant woman outdoors1

Remember in the days before you were pregnant and you’d eat a whole pizza and stare in awe at your food baby? It’s like that. When you wake up with an empty stomach in the morning, it is of course going to look smaller than after a full day of eating.  

Your baby has changed position

The position your baby is lying in will influence the shape and size of your pregnant belly. If you have been lying down all night, your baby may have changed position while you sleep.

If your baby is lying with their back and butt against your belly, this can lead to a fuller and rounder baby bump.

During the night your baby may have turned into a transverse position (lying horizontally across your belly) and this can make your pregnant belly look square and not so big and round.

If your baby has got into a back-to-back position, this again can make your bump look less round and more of a bumpy shape.

In this position, your baby will have their back facing your back and the front of the body will be facing forward, you might even notice their little feet and hands through your skin as they move around.

If your baby has shifted position in the night, this can make your bump look smaller in the morning. 

This is not your first pregnancy

The more babies you have, the weaker and more stretched out your core abdominal muscles will become.

Whilst women can exercise and tighten their muscles back up between pregnancies, it can be hard to completely recover full muscles tone and strength after having a baby.

It is not uncommon for women experiencing subsequent pregnancies to ‘pop’ earlier. This is because their stomach muscles are not as strong as they were prior to their first pregnancy and are unable to support the growing uterus as easily.

pregnant standing on a field

Weaker stomach muscles can tire more quickly as the day goes on meaning your bump will look like it has grown since you woke in the morning.

Whilst your pregnant belly does grow every day, if you are noticing a big difference in its size from morning to night, it may be down to the fact that your core muscles are weak and struggle to keep your bump supported over the course of the day. 

Related Article: Can A Baby Break Your Ribs While Pregnant?

Why Does My Pregnant Belly Look Smaller Some Days?

As you can see from the list above, it is totally normal for your baby bump to change size and shape throughout the day. If you have ever wondered, why your pregnant belly looks smaller some days, it is most likely down to one of the reasons we have already discussed. 

Some days you may eat more food than others making your stomach fuller and your baby bump look bigger. You may have eaten lots of gassy food that has caused you to bloat more than usual.

Your baby may have switched positions and is no longer pushing out so much at the front of your pregnant belly. There are several factors that can impact the size of your baby bump and make it look smaller some days. 

9 Months Pregnant Belly Looks Smaller

By nine months pregnant the majority of women have a large blossoming baby bump.

It can be very difficult for most women to hide a pregnancy at nine months because their stomach is likely to be very large by this point. However, some women may notice their belly looks smaller at nine months pregnant. 

Your OBGYN will regularly measure your bump throughout your pregnancy at your prenatal appointments. However, if you notice your bump has stopped getting bigger, even at nine months pregnant, you should raise any concerns you have with your health professional. 

Apart from all the reasons already stated in this article, your 9-month pregnant belly may look smaller because your body is gearing up for labor. As your due date approaches your baby may ‘drop’ into your pelvis.

This process is called lightening and happens when your baby positions itself head down and moves lower down into your pelvis, preparing for birth. 

If your baby has dropped, your baby bump may look smaller. This is simply because your baby has moved lower down into your body, leaving more space in the top of your stomach.

If you wake up one morning close to your due date and your pregnant belly looks smaller, your baby may have dropped into your pelvis and labor could be imminent


Does your baby bump grow every day?

Your pregnant belly will grow bigger each day. But remember that every woman carries differently some may look like they are carrying a small basketball right up to the day they go into labor, while others may look like they are about to pop during the entire pregnancy.

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Why does my pregnant belly go hard at night?

If you are in your second or third trimester and you notice that your belly is going hard sometimes it is probably because you are experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions – these can cause mild discomfort but are nothing to worry about.

When does a pregnant belly grow the most?

In women of lower body weight, a belly bump may be noticeable earlier than if the woman is overweight. In some women, it may not be noticeable until they are around 20 weeks pregnant.

First-time mothers can expect the greatest and most noticeable expansion of their bump between 12-16 weeks.

The Final Thought 

If you have ever wondered why does my pregnant belly looks smaller in the mornings, you are not the only mom-to-be to experience this confusing part of pregnancy.

Baby bumps are supposed to grow not to shrink and it can be worrisome to wake up to a pregnant belly that is much smaller than the one you fell asleep with.

We have highlighted all the main reasons why your baby bump sometimes looks smaller in the morning, we hope this information helps to put your mind at rest and see that it is normal for your pregnant belly to change size throughout the day. 

There may be cause for concern if you notice your pregnant belly has started getting smaller over time not bigger or if it has stopped growing altogether.

If you have any worries about the size of your baby bump, get in touch with your OBGYN, they will be able to measure and scan you to check if your baby is doing ok. 

For your complete guide to first-time pregnancy check it out here.