There’s a hell lot of a difference between a fat belly and a pregnant belly. A stomach that has an abundance of “fat” may just be surrounded by fatty tissue, but will be fuller in size due to the amount that an individual eats. Unlike when you are pregnant, you cannot eat as much because there is not a lot of room to do so.
Pregnancy does not grow in the stomach, it grows in the Uterus. The stomach is where food goes. When a woman is pregnant, the fetus grows larger and larger, pushing the Uterus out from the lower abdomen upwards. When a woman is adding fat around the middle, there is no fetus, there is only fat. A pregnant woman will give birth to a baby, sometime between 32–42 weeks.
Have you ever had the experience where, all of a sudden, you realize you haven’t had your period in a while? You then look in the mirror and notice a few added weights here and there.
If you’re sexually active, you would instantly think that you’re pregnant. Then again, it might just be belly fat, too. We know; being a woman is never easy.
While taking a pregnancy test will solve this question, you can also try to figure out the differences between a pregnant belly vs fat belly yourself. For that, we’ve got you covered.
Pregnancy comes with many changes inside a woman’s body happening all at once. For one, the uterus grows, which leads to more pressure on the abdomen.
You might feel a little hardness around your belly area if your uterus is growing to support the baby’s development.
It shouldn’t be rock-hard, though. Instead, while the hardness level changes at different times, there must still be a little give throughout the pregnancy.
On the other hand, if you’re sure you aren’t pregnant, what could be the cause of your belly fat?
Fat abdomens are squishy and soft. (The caveat here is that pregnant fat abdomens are also squishy and soft, with the added bonus of a growing baby inside.) If a woman is overweight, it’s highly unlikely that all the fat is concentrated in her abdominal area, and areas like the thighs and breasts will also be squishy and soft.
Here are the most common types of belly fat to give you a better understanding of what might be the cause of your belly:
1. Inflated Belly
You will know you have a bloated belly when your stomach only grows as the night approaches.
This might be the cause of an imbalance in your intestinal flora, sluggish bowels, or an allergic reaction to certain types of food.
2. Low Belly
Does your body have a generally slim profile, but your stomach is protruding a bit? If yes, you might have what people call a low belly.
This can be due to a recent pregnancy, an unchanging diet, or just how your spine is curved. It might also be that you do a monotonous gym routine.
3. Love Handles
The next possible reason is one we all know too well. Love handles are distinguished by those “cushions” found on a person’s sides.
This excess weight around the belly area is caused by a sedentary lifestyle partnered with lots of sugar and carbs, as well as excess alcohol consumption.
4. Stress Belly
Compared to somewhat lose love handles, you might have also heard of stress belly.
This is identified as fat around the belly button, causing the stomach to look “thick.” The most obvious cause of a stress belly is chronic stress.
On the other hand, it might also be that you always skip your meals, drink several cups of coffee each day, and binge on unhealthy food choices.
5. Mom’s Belly
Finally, there’s the mommy belly, which is a type of belly fat that new moms have just after giving birth.
How do you address each belly fat type? You’d need the right kind of exercise routine to target these problem areas. Along with that, you must follow a proper diet.
It’s often very easy to get caught up in the excitement of taking a pill and “magically” losing weight. However, everyone knows that it can’t really happen that easily.
To lose weight, you’ve got to work for it and do so long and hard. Though exercise plays a key role, you’ve got to eat right at the same time.
Apart from pregnancy, your stomach can appear for a variety of reasons. Overeating is a common culprit. However, a fat belly can also be caused by eating foods that make you bloated with gas or make you retain water. Also, medical conditions such as constipation, hernia, or in exceptional circumstances, a tumor can cause your stomach to appear swollen. Heredity can also play a big role: if one of your parents or other family members tends to gain weight around the stomach area, you might have the same genetic disposition. Finally, menopausal women tend to store fat in their abdominals as opposed to other parts of their bodies.
If you are not pregnant, look into alternative causes of your fat belly. People who have wide waistlines are at greater risk for certain serious medical problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even cancer. Measure the circumference of your waist and determine your weight and body-mass index to determine whether you have a weight problem.
When your belly fat is due to overeating, start paying attention to the foods you eat and how much you’re eating. You can lose weight in your belly – as well as other parts of your body – by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugary foods, drinks, and high-fat foods, and including more whole grains into your diet. Also, aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise to lose belly fat.
If you don’t believe that your belly is caused by overeating, look at some of the foods you eat to determine whether it’s caused by bloating. Raw cruciferous vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions, tend to cause stomach bloating. Reduce these foods in your diet to see whether your stomach swelling goes down.
This is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting, also known as morning sickness, tend to start anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after conception.
The symptoms can vary. Some women don’t experience any morning sickness, while others have severe bouts of nausea. Some women only vomit when they’re pregnant.
Bloating is a common early pregnancy sign. In some cases, bloating can occur even before the first missed period.
During early pregnancy, the hormone progesterone increases to prepare the uterus. Progesterone also slows digestion, which can trap the gas in the intestines that may cause abdominal bloating.
Progesterone, a pregnancy hormone, makes the bowels move less quickly. As a result, constipation is pretty common.
A woman who may have been regular before pregnancy might start to have trouble going to the bathroom.
4. Frequent urination
If you find yourself running to the bathroom a lot more than usual, this could be a sign of pregnancy. You might also feel thirsty and have the urge to drink more liquids than before.
Feeling tired is a common symptom of early pregnancy. As hormones change, you may find yourself wanting to nap more often.
Some vaginal spotting around weeks 6 to 9 is not uncommon. If the bleeding happens 6 to 12 days after conception, it’s maybe implantation bleeding. This can also occur with some slight cramping.
Women who aren’t sexually active could shrug this off as an irregular period.
If you’re not someone who usually has headaches, it could be a sign of pregnancy. Hormone spikes can cause headaches for some pregnant women.
Pain in the lower back may also be a sign you’re carrying a baby. It’s common for women to experience aching in their lower back throughout pregnancy.
10. Craving ice
Anemia is common in women. But when they become pregnant, their blood volume is expanded, so they become more anemic.
The craving for ice, specifically the need to chew ice, is often associated with anemia.
11. Nipple changes
The skin around your nipples may start to get darker if you’re pregnant. Some women will also have a discharge from nipples (early milk production). This can happen early in the pregnancy. It’ll be milky in color.
If the discharge is colored or bloody, it could indicate other health issues, such as a tumor. In this case, you should notify your doctor right away.
12. Mood swings
Moods swings can occur any time during pregnancy, including within the first month. Mood swings may include irritability, depression, and excitement.
Dr. Gerardo Bustillo, a California-based OB-GYN, says he’s had patients who were very surprised to find out they were pregnant. “It all hinges around what kind of menstrual pattern a woman has,” he says.
For some women, their menstrual cycle is very regular and they can tell something is different as soon as a period is missed. Others have irregular cycles, meaning periods are unpredictable. They may not suspect anything if one doesn’t come when expected.
According to Bustillo, overweight women are less likely to feel fetal movement. And if a woman doesn’t feel like she looks different in the mirror, she may not notice the extra weight.
One way to clear up any misunderstanding is to take a home pregnancy test. But if you’re not ready for that step, other physical signs can also be present if you’re pregnant.
If a person is sexually active and has certain symptoms, such as bloating, pregnancy is possible. But since many other factors can result in bloating, the cause may not always be clear.
People who track their menstrual cycle may notice if they have missed a period, which can help determine if pregnancy is a possibility.
One of the best ways to determine if a person is bloated or pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. A range of pregnancy tests is available for purchase in pharmacies and online.
It is important to know that a home pregnancy test can lead to false negatives, especially early in pregnancy. A medical professional can confirm pregnancy with a blood test, urine test, or ultrasound exam.
Other causes of bloating
Pregnancy is just one of many things that can cause bloating. If bloating is not due to pregnancy, it is helpful to determine the cause to take steps to reduce bloat.
If someone thinks they are experiencing new or persistent bloating, discussing their symptoms with a doctor is advisable.
Other factors besides pregnancy that may lead to bloating, include the following:
Bloating is very common before and during a person’s period.
The 156 participants completed a survey about their menstrual history and gastrointestinal symptoms before and during their periods. The results indicated that 62% of the women had premenstrual bloating, and 51% had to bloat during their menses.
Bloating is thought to occur due to changing levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle.
Various types of food increase a person’s risk of bloating. Vegetables, for example, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts may lead to bloating. Dairy products and beans may also cause gas and bloat.
Certain drinks can lead to bloating. Carbonated beverages, such as soda, contain carbon dioxide gas, which is a common cause of bloating.
Eating too quickly
Eating too fast leads people to swallow air. The increased air in the stomach causes gas and bloating.
Chewing gum and using a straw can also increase the amount of air that reaches the stomach.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Bloating is a possible symptom of a range of gastrointestinal conditions. For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating.
It is also possible that more than one factor is causing bloating. In some cases, a combination of the causes above can lead to bloating.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled or solid sac that grows on a person’s ovary or ovaries. Cysts can form at any time but are most common when they form during a person’s menstrual cycle.
Cysts can cause pain and bloat in the lower abdomen. Rarely, ovarian cysts can be cancerous, which is why it is best to have a doctor check out cysts when they occur.
Homemade (DIY) pregnancy test to try
For many women, becoming a mother is the most desirable feeling. Missing your period is the first sign that can indicate pregnancy. While one can always find test kits available in the market, homemade pregnancy kits have been used by women for decades. A lot of them are based on folk remedies and can deliver good results, as they work by detecting the level of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), pregnancy hormones in the urine.
With the advancement of medicine, we have plenty of options in the form of readily available pregnancy kits, there are a lot of simple, safe, and super cheap options available right in the comfort of our homes.
The best part of these do-it-yourself pregnancy tests is the privacy that they provide. So, if you are fretting over an unplanned pregnancy or want to retain the secrecy, we are listing down 8 DIY natural pregnancy tests.
Are there any benefits to the tests?
Homemade tests do have some benefits. If you have an unplanned pregnancy and want to hide it from your close ones, homemade supplies won’t doubt suspicions. Plus, since most of these ingredients are easy to find, you can take them in the comfort of your [home](What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?) without having to step out. Many of the supplies do not even have an expiry date so can be used safely.
Bleach pregnancy test
This method is said to give the most accurate and quicker result than any other method.
Take a clean container and collect urine in it. Now add some bleaching powder to it and mix it properly to avoid lumps. If the mixture forms a foam or fizz, it means you are pregnant and if there is no foam, you are not pregnant.
Sugar pregnancy test
The easiest of all tests, this method was most widely used when there were no scientific pregnancy kits available.
Take one tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and add one tablespoon of urine to it. Now notice how sugar reacts after you pour urine on it. If the sugar starts forming clumps, it means you are pregnant and if the sugar dissolves quickly, it means you are not pregnant.
The hCG hormone released from the urine does not allow the sugar to dissolve properly.
Toothpaste pregnancy test
You can use any toothpaste but make sure it should be white in color.
Take two tablespoons of white toothpaste in a container and add the urine sample to it. If the toothpaste changes its color and becomes frothy, you are pregnant.
Vinegar pregnancy test
Yes, even vinegar can help you test your pregnancy. Remember, you will need white vinegar for this particular test.
Take two tablespoons of white vinegar in a plastic container. Add your urine to it and mix it properly. If the vinegar changes its color and forms bubbles, you are pregnant, and if there is no chance you are not pregnant.
Salt pregnancy test
This DIY pregnancy kit works just like the sugar test. Instead of sugar, salt is used. The same steps are to be followed. Urine and salt are to be mixed in equal parts. Wait for a minute. If the salt forms a creamy white clump of sorts, it means a positive result. If no such effect is seen, it might mean you are not pregnant. This again is based on tradition and there is no scientific evidence to support the same.
Soap pregnancy test
You can use any type of bathing soap for performing this test. Take a small piece of soap and pour your urine on it. If it forms bubbles, it means you are pregnant and if not, you are not pregnant.
Baking soda pregnancy test
Take two tablespoons of baking soda and add two tablespoons of urine to it. Now observe the reaction. If you see bubbles like you see when you open a soda bottle, you are pregnant.
Are these tests scientifically reliable?
Even though homemade tests have been used by generations and there’s a lot of history behind their usage, there is no conclusive proof or scientific evidence that any of these tests work to deliver a 100% positive result. A good result can be resultant of coincidence as well.
Apart from homemade tests, certain fertility monitoring tools and awareness methods (such as measuring basal body temperature, tracking ovulation dates) can make a woman aware of her pregnancy. While they are reliable, they take a longer time to process and need prior knowledge.
Tummy twinges, pinching and pulling
Some women experience feelings inside their stomachs in the early stages of pregnancy that replicate the sensation of their muscles being pulled and stretched. Sometimes referred to as ‘abdominal twinges’, these tingles are nothing to worry about.
“The tell-tale signs would definitely be the holding or hugging of the bump, even before the bump is visible. Then after about 35 weeks [about eight months pregnant], the waddle takes over. When standing still, women tend to sway from side to side - or at least I do.”
“Gentle pushing on your belly as it gets bigger is fine,” says Dr. Michele Hakakha. “Hard jabs, kicks, or punches can be dangerous, particularly as you get farther along in your pregnancy.”
Walk your fingers up the side of her abdomen until you feel the top of her abdomen under the skin. It will feel like a hardball. You can feel the top by curving your fingers gently into the abdomen. With the woman lying on her back, begin by finding the top of the uterus with your fingers.
During the early stages of pregnancy, around 7 or 8 weeks, the growth of the uterus and the baby’s development turn the belly harder.
To do so, place your index and middle fingers on the wrist of your other hand, just below your thumb. You should be able to feel a pulse. (You shouldn’t use your thumb to measure because it has a pulse of its own.) Count the heartbeats for 60 seconds.
The eye test
THE EYE TEST: In the 16th century, physician Jacques Guillemeau said that a woman’s eyes could tell if she were pregnant. According to him, if the woman were pregnant, she developed deep-set eyes, her pupils got smaller, her eyelids drooped and she developed swollen veins in the corner of her eyes.
It takes about 2 to 3 weeks after sex for pregnancy to happen. Some people notice pregnancy symptoms as early as a week after pregnancy begins — when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus.
Your baby bump will probably get bumped while you’re pregnant, particularly if you have young children. It is almost always harmless. But if you suffer abdominal trauma, such as getting in a car accident, call your doctor.
Pressing on your stomach is a way to find out if the size of your internal organs is normal, to check if anything hurts, and to feel if anything unusual is going on. Looking, listening, and feeling are all part of a physical exam.
A pregnancy does not grow in the stomach, it grows in the Uterus. The stomach is where food goes. When a woman is pregnant, the fetus grows larger and larger, pushing the Uterus out from the lower abdomen upwards. When a woman is adding fat around the middle, there is no fetus, there is only fat. A pregnant woman will give birth to a baby, sometime between 32–42 weeks.