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What Happens To Existing Belly Fat When Pregnant? (EVERYTHING TO KNOW!)

Pregnancy is a time of a multitude of changes in your body. From the growing belly to gaining weight, it is a period of transition for all women. Whether you are pregnant with your first baby or fourth, you will find that each pregnancy provides a different experience.

Along with this, you will have many questions that need to be answered.

One question that most pregnant women have, especially overweight women, is about belly fat. “What will happen to the existing belly fat when I am pregnant? When will I start looking pregnant?” These are a few of the questions that we’ve all pondered… 

What Happens To Existing Belly Fat When Pregnant?

Once you are in your second trimester of pregnancy, your uterus starts to expand. By the time you are 12 to 16 weeks, you will start looking pregnant. At this time, your belly fat gets stretched to accommodate the growing fetus. If you have normal body weight, you will notice that you need to change from your regular dress to maternity clothes. 

But if you are overweight with a large belly, you will experience a different kind of change to your abdominal area. Instead of becoming big, your belly changes its shape and become a little rounder, indicating that your baby is growing healthy. 

Pregnant woman

How Much Weight Can You Gain During Pregnancy?

The amount of weight you can gain during pregnancy depends on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before getting pregnant. 

  • If you are underweight and your BMI is less than 18.5, you should gain 28-40 pounds during your pregnancy. If you are carrying twins, you can gain 50-62 pounds. 
  • In the case of a normal BMI between 18.5 – 24.9, you can gain a weight of 25-35 pounds. In the case of twins, the weight gain can be between 37 and 54 pounds. 
  • If you are an overweight person with BMI between 25 and 29.9, you should gain only 15-25 pounds during pregnancy. This weight gain can go up to 31-50 pounds if you carry twins. 
  • For those who are obese with a BMI of more than 30, their weight gain should be restricted to 11-20 pounds, which can go up to 25-42 pounds in the case of twins. 

If you fall under the overweight and obese category, it would be a good idea to lose weight before trying to get pregnant. 

Why Is It Important To Gain The Right Amount of Weight During Pregnancy?

Gaining and maintaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is required for both you and the baby. This helps the baby to gain weight and grow to the healthy size and reduce the chance of becoming obese later on in life. 

For mothers, overweight can result in gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. There is risk of miscarriage and birth defect if you are overweight. It also becomes difficult to monitor the fetal development. Delivery also becomes difficult if you are overweight. 

What Are The Healthy Habits To Follow To Lose Weight? 

  • Consume a balanced diet

You should consume a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains such as oat meal and bread. Avoid full fat dairy products and go for low-fat ones like low-fat milk and yoghurt.

Healthy protein like egg, beans, and lean meat should also be made part of your diet. You should also drink plenty of water to flush out all the toxins from your body. 

Beverages with high sugar content like soft drinks, fruit juices and iced tea should be avoided.

Similarly high calorie snacks like cookies cakes and candies should also be avoided. Fat like cooking oil, butter, and mayonnaise should be used in moderation. 

  • Count the calorie

To meet the additional nutritional requirements and for the healthy growth of the baby, you should consume additional calorie of food during pregnancy.

During the first trimester, you do not require any extra calorie. But you need an additional 340 calories and 450 calories during the second and third trimesters respectively. 

This additional calorie should come from a balanced diet and not from junk food. You can seek the help of a dietician to chart out a food plan for you. 

  • Keep yourself active

You should keep yourself active by indulging in moderate level of exercise. Walking is the most safest form of exercise for pregnant women. It not only helps to manage your weight but also reduce the aches and pains of pregnancy. 

30 minutes of moderate exercise is ideal for pregnant women. Besides walking, you can also try yoga and jogging. Before starting any form of exercise, it is best to consult your doctor. 

Can You Lose Tummy Fat During Pregnancy?

You cannot lose tummy fat during pregnancy. And it is not a good idea to try to lose tummy fat when you are pregnant. If you are obese and have tummy fat, try to reduce it before getting pregnant. This is possible through healthy eating habits and exercise. 

But if the doctor finds that your overweight will affect the healthy growth of the baby, you may be asked to reduce the weight under the doctor’s supervision.

When Will I Start To Look Pregnant Instead Of Fat?

12-16 weeks is the time when you start looking pregnant. If you are a person with normal body weight, your baby bump becomes visible around 12 weeks. If you are towards the heavy side, you will notice the pregnant belly around 16 weeks. 

Around this time, your uterus expands beyond the pelvis which makes you look pregnant. Your normal clothes do not fit and you need to switch to maternity wear. 


Maintaining an optimum amount of weight during pregnancy is very important. If you feel that you are gaining too much weight, or have an eating disorder that causes weight gain, you should consult your doctor.

The doctor will prescribe the right type of diet to follow so that you remain healthy and fit throughout pregnancy. 

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