If you haven't had much of a belly yet, don't worry -- your big tummy is on its way!

This is a momentous occasion: It's finally time to break out those elastic-waist pants! That tummy bulge is definitely there, as your uterus continues to expand to house your growing baby, the placenta, and increased amniotic fluid. To locate your uterus, lie on your back and feel about an inch below your belly button. It's safe to press down on your abdomen; you won't hurt yourself or your baby. Your body is a wonderfully safe place for your child, who is cushioned within the amniotic sac and the thick walls of your uterus.

At each prenatal visit, your provider will measure the height of your uterus by measuring from the fundus -- or top of the uterus -- to your pubic bone. Up to your 12th week of pregnancy, your fundus was even with, or below, your pubic bone. After that, it began rising in a regular progression and should continue to do so throughout your pregnancy. This is one indication that your baby is growing on schedule.

How big should you be? By 16 weeks your fundus should reach halfway between your pubic bone and navel. Between 20 and 40 weeks of pregnancy, the height of your fundus in centimeters should equal the age of your baby in weeks. (Practitioners always allow for a little extra growth, or a little less, because babies don't all grow at the same rate.)

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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