What Is a B Belly During Pregnancy and Why Does It Happen?

When you envision a pregnant body, you may picture a cute little round bump. However,…

What Is a B Belly During Pregnancy and Why Does It Happen?

When you envision a pregnant body, you may picture a cute little round bump. However, if you talk to many people who’ve been pregnant, they will tell you that they felt swollen and large all over and that bumps come in all shapes and sizes.

No matter what body size you have going into pregnancy, every baby bump is unique as to when it shows up and how it looks when it does. The perfectly rounded pregnancy bump of your dreams may be exactly what you get or far from the reality you experience.

However, what if your bump actually looks like two pregnancy bumps? Should you be concerned if there’s a band across your belly? You may have heard the term “B belly pregnancy,” but what does that even mean?

A B belly during pregnancy is one that looks like it has a crease or waistband in the middle, so that the belly appears divided into a top and bottom half, much like an uppercase letter “B.”

Important to note is that your larger pregnancy breasts are not the top of the B! If this were the case, nearly every woman would have a B belly pregnancy.

A B belly shape differs from the more common D belly shape, which resembles a capital letter “D” and won’t have a dividing aspect. Some people refer to the B belly as a double belly pregnancy.

There is no one specific cause for a B belly in pregnancy. B bellies are more common in people with more weight, but possible with any body size and shape. This is because so many unique factors, like height, weight, and muscle and bone structure all combine to impact how you carry a pregnancy bump.

The B belly shape during pregnancy may be impacted by:

Your fascial health

“Fascial health” is fancy way of saying the connective tissues beneath the skin are partly responsible for your belly shape. Your fascia may be damaged due to a sedentary lifestyle, dehydration, poor posture, unbalanced diet, stress, and injured muscles.

They may also be affected by prior pregnancies or simply structured in a way that divides your pregnant belly.

To make sure that the fascia are in their best possible condition during your pregnancy, you’ll want to stretch regularly, drink plenty of water, and maybe even add some yoga or cardio to your exercise routine.

Your body size and weight

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 for a woman indicates overweight and a BMI of 30 for a woman indicates obesity. Women with more weight when beginning pregnancy are more likely to experience a B belly, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

Body shape will also play into this, since where weight is carried is individual.

Your prior pregnancies

Many women find that after their first pregnancy their stomach muscles seem looser and their shape expands a little faster when they get pregnant again.

These are things that can lead to a B belly in pregnancy — especially if the pregnancies are close together or your body has not returned to its pre-pregnancy shape before becoming pregnant again.

Your usual belly shape

Women who enter a pregnancy with an apron belly or who carry their weight in their belly (as opposed to, say, in their hips and thighs) are more likely to develop a B belly even if they’ve never been pregnant before.

A B belly by itself should not raise alarm bells for your doctor. However, if weight is one of the factors causing the shape, there may be additional health concerns your provider will want to discuss.

Health concerns

Those who are carrying more weight are at a greater risk of:

  • Gestational diabetes. Not only can gestational diabetes lead to a higher likelihood of cesarean delivery, but it may need to be controlled through diet or medication during the pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia or high blood pressure. This can result in swelling and damage to vital organs like the liver and kidneys.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Back pain during pregnancy.

The baby of a woman with a higher BMI is also at greater risk for some complications including:

  • Bigger size at birth, which may lead to injury or problems during delivery.
  • Preterm delivery, which can may cause complications with organs like the heart, lungs, brain, and gastrointestinal tract.

Because there are additional pregnancy risks if a mother is either over or underweight, it’s important to make sure that weight gain is monitored and spread over the course of your pregnancy.

According to the CDC, a woman who has overweight should aim to gain 15 to 25 pounds if she is giving birth to one baby. If she has obesity, a pregnant woman should aim to gain 11 to 20 pounds during her pregnancy.

How might this look over the course of a pregnancy? In the first trimester, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds. After that, gaining about half a pound a week for the remainder of the pregnancy is a good goal.

Emotional concerns

There are also emotional struggles that may accompany having a different belly shape than expected during pregnancy. This can happen to anyone, regardless of their belly shape or size.

No matter what you’re feeling, you can take comfort in the fact that any range of emotions is normal, and you are not alone!

If others make rude or insensitive comments about your belly, you may need to rely on resilience measures like visualization and support from friends. Know that every pregnant body is different, and yours is working hard to support and grow your little one.

Don’t forget to be your own biggest cheerleader during your pregnancy! Celebrate pregnancy milestones and try to find happiness in your pregnancy whenever possible.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about doing anything special if you have a B belly during pregnancy. While this shape may be different from your expectations, it’s normal and doesn’t need to be changed.

Remember that your belly shape can change as your pregnancy progresses. From the first to the third trimester all bellies develop through different shapes and sizes. Some women report that as weight shifted and adjusted during their pregnancy the “B” shape became less obvious or even transformed into a “D” shape.

Since back pain may be an issue during your pregnancy (depending on the cause of your B belly and other factors), you may desire some extra comfort and support. Belly bands may be useful in this case and can also smooth out your B belly shape.

You may also want to find a pair of maternity leggings that are supportive and fit well with your bump. Finding maternity clothes that are comfortable and flatter your shape can help you to celebrate your pregnancy.

You may have high hopes for the world’s easiest pregnancy, including the world’s cutest baby bump, but life doesn’t always go as expected!

If you do find yourself with a bump that seems to resemble the letter B, know you’re not alone. Your bump may change shape during your pregnancy, and even if it doesn’t, it’s not necessarily something you need to worry about fixing.

While B belly pregnancies are not abnormal, if something seems wrong, it’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Remember in the moments of discomfort that your baby bump is only for a few short months, but your little one will be here for many years to come!