Pregnant Belly Vs Fat Belly Difference

Is It Pregnant Belly? Or Your Tummy’s Getting Fat! Find Out Before It’s Too Late

Pregnant belly vs fat belly difference! How can you tell? 

It usually should not be hard to tell if you are pregnant or you are just getting obese because pregnancy is more than just a growing tummy. But, things get complex when you are sexually active. 

One morning you wake up and realize your belly looks distended, and you start to wonder – is it just fat, or are you pregnant? Extra weight gain is one of the many symptoms of pregnancy. But gaining a few pounds around the waistline does not mean you are pregnant.

So, how do you tell the difference? Well, let me help you find out how –

Let’s Find Out Pregnant Belly Vs Fat Belly Difference 

Pregnant Belly Vs Fat Belly Difference

Gynecologists claim that the signs of pregnancy revolve around a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women have a very regular menstrual cycle, and they can tell if anything is different from their menstrual pattern. For example, they can trace a missed period. But things are a little different for women with a good menstrual pattern. It may be difficult for them to suspect anything. 

Women who are already overweight may not feel fetal movement. Also, if they don’t see any difference when looking in the mirror, they may not notice a difference in their weight. 

But, these doubts could be cleared with a simple pregnancy test. But, if you are not comfortable taking the test, there are other signs to help you figure out the difference. So, are you getting fat, or is it pregnancy? Here are the different pregnancy symptoms to help you find out —

10 Early Signs Of Pregnancy 

10 early signs of pregnancy

You can tell the difference between a bloated tummy vs a pregnant tummy if you are aware of the early signs of pregnancy. Here are ten signs of pregnancy to help you find the pregnant belly vs fat belly difference. 

1. Nausea


You start to experience morning sickness, which starts within 8 weeks after conception. A common experience during this time is vomiting and nausea. But, the symptoms may vary from person to person. For example, some women also experience bouts of nausea. Also, some women may only vomit during pregnancy. 

2. Constipation


During pregnancy, progesterone, a hormone, starts to help the womb grow during the pregnancy. It also makes bowel movement comparatively slower, causing constipation. 

It is a common symptom of pregnancy. Women who had regular bowel movements might have problems during pregnancy.

3. Frequent Urge To Pee

Frequent Urge To Pee

Are you rushing to the toilet almost every hour? This could be one of the many early signs of pregnancy. Unfortunately, it also leaves you thirsty and wanting to drink more water than usual.

4. Always Tired

Always Tired

Feeling tired and exhausted is one among many signs of pregnancy. If you are getting fat and have all the symptoms I told you so far, then it could be pregnancy. An early test is still the best way to tell pregnant belly vs fat belly difference. However, these symptoms can also help you find out the difference.

5. Spotting 

An early symptom of pregnancy is vaginal spotting. It starts around 6 to 9 weeks. But, if you are bleeding after 6 to 12 days of conception, it might be due to implantation. This may also come with slight cramping. 

But, if you are not sexually active, then it should not be anything more than an irregular period. 

6. Headaches 


Are you having headaches along with a few of the previously mentioned symptoms? Then it could be a sign of pregnancy. But it also depends on how active you are sexually. Hormone spikes during pregnancy can cause headaches. But, surely you cannot tell if you are pregnant just by having a headache. And you could not possibly be getting fat because you have a headache.

7. Dizziness


Another common symptom of pregnancy is a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. When a woman is pregnant, the blood vessels dilate, causing the blood pressure to drop. So, if you are pregnant, you may feel dizzy. 

8. Backaches 


If you are having a series of all these different symptoms of pregnancy, then you can say that you are pregnant. When your womb is carrying a baby, you are supposed to feel a certain amount of backaches. 

9. Craving Ice 

Craving Ice

Anemia is common among women. But, when they become pregnant, their blood volume increases, making them anemic. This is when they start to crave ice. The need to chew ice becomes more prominent, which is a sign of anemia.

10. Changes In Nipple 

Changes In Nipple 

When women get pregnant, the area around their nipples may become darker in color. The skin around the nipple or the areola becomes darker brown in color when pregnant. Also, an early sign of milk production becomes visible through frequent discharge from the nipple. The color of the discharge is milky. 

However, if the discharge has a different color, it could mean other health issues. If the discharge is red, you can talk to your doctor as soon as possible. 

So, if you are pregnant, you will likely see all these signs. You will see a growth in your overweight pregnant belly week by week. But, it would help to take a pregnancy test and confirm the symptoms. It could turn out that you are not pregnant and really getting fat. 

Other Changes

If you are pregnant, you will come across certain other changes in your baby, which would make sure that whether this is because of pregnancy or just simple belly fat. But remember, every human body is unique, and not all rules are the same for everyone, and not pregnant bellies look the same way they are expected. Some of the other changes that can be noticed are:

Belly Button

You may find some changes in the belly button all through your pregnancy. These changes are mostly not painful, but you might still be concerned about this. For some people the belly button which was initially an innie might have popped out now.

There has not been much research about this topic, but this change is quite common during pregnancy. This happens when the uterus grows in size and puts pressure on the wall of the abdomen. This mainly happens during the 26th week or may be later, during the third trimester.

But if you experience pain in your belly button or around it, then it is best to consult a doctor immediately to cancel out any chance of an umbilical hernia.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks, also known as striae gravidarum, are quite common during pregnancy. They occur naturally throughout the pregnancy that affects mostly 90% of women. And some people find the possibility of getting a stretch mark concerning.

Stretch marks are the result of the changes in the connective tissues due to the changes a body goes through during pregnancy. These happen mostly in the thighs, breasts and in the belly.

But it is important you know that stretch marks are completely normal, as the body changes immensely to help the growth of the baby. Trying to keep your belly moisturised can help in treating stretch marks.

Dark line

Some people find it concerning when they develop the dark line along their belly during pregnancy. This dark line is known as linea nigra. This is quite a normal phenomenon during pregnancy.

The linea nigra is the vertical line about 0.4 inch wide. It mostly runs till the pubis from the end of the belly button. This can develop in the first trimester as the sign of early pregnancy. After that it gets more thick and dark as a woman progresses in her pregnancy.

If Not Pregnant, Then What Can It Be? 

If not pregnant

 Multiple times, it is common for people to think they are pregnant, while all they are is just bloated. There are multiple reasons why you are having a bloated belly and it is way more common than you think.  

Let’s take a quick look at all the reasons why your tummy is getting bloated regularly.  

Chronic Stress  

 Chronic stress and anxiety may result in bloating of the stomach. It is also known as the stress belly. It mainly happens when an individual feels stress in the gut disrupting their digestive system.  

Many a times, stress slows down your digestive process. It may, in turn, cause bloating, constipation, and even pain. In a handful of cases, consistent stress can make conditions like IBS or irritable bowel syndrome a lot worse.  

Food Intolerances  

For people with sensitive stomachs, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea are pretty common. A very common food intolerance that results in bloating is lactose intolerance, which affects around 70% of people around the world.  

 When you have a lactose intolerance, your body is unable to digest any food that has lactose in it. This can further cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea if you consume any dairy products. So, if you have lactose intolerance, it is better to stay away from dairy products as much as you can.  

Becoming Old  

 Age causes menopause in women. This might cause an unusual amount of bloating in women. Progesterone and Oestrogen are the two major hormones that change while your body goes through menopause. An increase in the level of Oestrogen can increase the water retention in your body. On the other hand, a drop in the progesterone level may have a diuretic effect.  

As these hormones experience a major change during menopause, bloating might just be the aftermath of such fluctuations.  

Poor Diet  

Your bloated belly might just be an indication of your poor food habits. Many times, unhealthy or processed food might just stop your body’s ability to pass gas which results in a bloated belly.  

Refined carbs like sugar breaks down in the large intestine. This means they are fermented in there. This results in the building up of gas in the colon, which might result in bloating of the stomach.  

Also, excess consumption of alcohol might also be a reason behind a bloating stomach, as it is an inflammatory substance.  

Medical Conditions 

There are multiple underlying conditions that might result in the bloating of the stomach. These may include:  

  • Coeliac disease  
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease  
  • Dumping syndrome  
  • Irritable bowel syndrome  
  • Ovarian cancer 

If you are going through chronic bloating and you have tried multiple times to reduce it, get it checked by a doctor once to know if there are any underlying reasons behind the condition.  

You Are On Your Period  

Menstruation is one of the reasons why you might be experiencing a bloated stomach. The bloating might happen due to the decreased level of hormones in your menstrual cycle.  

Once your hormones start to get back in line, the bloating, along with other symptoms, starts to get normal.   

Key Takeaways

A pregnant belly tends to start showing signs of growth at around 12 weeks. By this time, what you may notice is more of a bump than just a distended, bloated belly. Your bump could feel hard and smooth. The other symptoms would also show up, which could alert you of a possible pregnancy. A test could make out what exactly is going on. Just like progesterone that could cause bloating, it could also be the reason behind a baby bump. 

The increased pressure could also cause frequent urination and make the belly feel firm. A more uniform round belly is a telltale sign of pregnancy, whereas an overweight belly will have fat rolls that are soft. Gaining weight could also mean you would have fat gain elsewhere in your body. The most common area for women’s weight gain would be their thighs. Belly fat can be squeezed, unlike pregnant belly. 

If you read the article and find that you have some of the symptoms and yet you are not pregnant, seek medical counsel. Changes in your body over a short period of time must be monitored. The most accurate way to check for pregnancy would be to get tested for it. The hormone HCG will correctly tell if you are pregnant. 

Another sign is to check where your fat is getting stored. Pregnancy belly distention is focused around the belly and no where else. Whereas weight gain fat could gather in different parts of the body, feeling much softer. 

It is advisable not to rely on physical symptoms alone and on checking multiple symptoms. A pregnancy test is a sure-shot way to go. Test kits are easily available over-the-counter at pharmacies.  

How To Take A Pregnancy Test

There are three ways to use an at-home pregnancy test. The hormone HCG can be detected in your pee.

  • Peeing in a clean cup and then place a few drops of the pee on the chemical strip.
  • Placing the chemical strip against your urine stream when you pee.
  • Peeing in a clean cup and then dipping the chemical strip in the pee that is in the cup.

So, Am I Pregnant Or Just Getting Fat?

How do you find out pregnant belly vs fat belly difference? A pregnancy test is still the most viable option. It may turn out that you are getting fat. But, if you have all the early signs of pregnancy, it would help to do a pregnancy report. Women who have an irregular period cycle and are already overweight may have trouble spotting the difference. 

But, once you see all these symptoms and are sexually active, it could mean that you are pregnant. But, if the test does not confirm pregnancy, then you really are just getting fat.

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Shahnawaz Alam


Shahnawaz is a dreamer, a living jukebox of rhetoric, music, art, poetry, and comics. Son to a single father, Shahnawaz has always been a keen observer of parenting – more importantly, looking at parenting from different angles. Shahnawaz holds a master's degree in English literature and loves to spend time in nature, admiring its beauty. While he’s not pondering upon the dynamics of parent-children relationships, he lets J. Alfred Prufrock be the piper of Hamelin and often sleepwalks to his monologues.

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