The Forbidden Question: Why Is Your Bump So Small?

When I first broke the news of my pregnancy to my friends and family, they warned me about many comments from random people that would make me uncomfortable or thunderstruck.

So, as any first-time-mom would do, I did my homework. I talked to friends who were mothers, searched the internet for ‘likely comments and questions’ and prepared myself well for any sudden attacks, until one day when I was asked the scariest, most unpredictable, and the most disconcerting question.

“Why is your bump so small?”

My instant reaction: I didn’t come across that one while surfing the internet.

My second reaction: “Does this mean there’s something wrong with my baby?”

My third reaction… well by then I had gone into a state of shock, too numb to think or feel anything – not even the “little bump” that I have.

I don’t remember what the lady said after that. She just seemed to be babbling in the air, while I started mapping any “unusual” signs or symptoms that might have meant that the baby was actually not growing well enough.

I couldn’t sleep all night, and I still curse that woman for that careless comment. I had all my documents, clothes and my handbag ready for the following morning, ready to leave for the hospital with the first ray of sunshine; and so I did. I rushed to the midwife clinic first thing in the morning and found myself in a relief only after she checked me and the baby, who was perfect in size, shape and health.

“This is one active bub I’ve seen in a long time,” she said with a soothing smile as she moved the Doppler on my “perfect-sized” bump to catch my bouncy baby’s heartbeat, and simultaneously wiping off my tears that trickled down into my ears. I had not felt such stress in the last eight months as I did in the last eight hours, and the relief was making me sleepy on the clinic bed.

Why would women do this to pregnant moms? Don’t they realize how big an impact can their “just-saying” comments leave on us? Why don’t they understand that midwives would inform women if there’s something to be worried about, and that they should spare themselves from fidgeting with our minds?

According to my midwife and the doctor that checked me earlier that day, it is perfectly normal for women not to gain extra pounds during pregnancy, especially if it’s their first.

So ladies, those with small bumps and those with not, please remember that every woman’s body expands in its own proportion. It’s perfectly normal to have a bump that looks relatively small or even bigger when compared to other women, but there’s nothing to panic as long as your feel the baby move.

Chances are, if you are tall and have good muscle tone, you will carry high and your tummy might not be very noticeable, like mine (Phew!).

Measuring fundal height

Like babies, bumps come in all shapes and sizes. Besides scans, fetal and bump growths are monitored by measuring fundal heights at every antenatal appointment.

Fundal height is measured with any domestic measuring tape. The measure is taken from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus at the point where your bump actually begins to protrude.  It is measured in centimetres and should match your baby’s gestational age, within one to three centimetres. For instance, at 32 weeks as myself, your measurement should be between 29cm and 35cm.

However, these measurements tend to change or seem to stay in place for a few weeks in the baby is breech, is turned sideways or has rolled up in a corner.

Image via birth.com.au

By Ayesha Hasan

August 18, 2014

Pregnancy Etiquette 101: Be Kind To Bumps

Pregnancy is a very exciting but tumultuous time – the last thing you need is people being insensitive and rude when it comes to your ever-changing body shape. You’re already dealing with raging hormones, extreme tiredness and strange, new bodily afflictions which can change daily. Yet a funny thing happens when a woman falls pregnant – suddenly, your body becomes public property.

Strangers, co–workers and family members rapidly develop foot-in-mouth disease, offering constant, unsolicited comments ranging from everything from how you’re carrying, to your bump size and how tired/happy/glowing you look (or don’t look, shock horror). Personally, I think the kindest thing you can ever say to a pregnant woman is: “How are you feeling?” And then listen, really listen, even if she lurches into a mad rant about horrific pregnancy complications which make your toenails curl.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, a very senior male manager with whom I worked at a media giant took one look at my blossoming form, having not seen me for months, then remarked with distaste: “Oh! I didn’t think you’d be that big?!”

“I’m terribly sorry to inconvenience you with my growing baby bump, you stupid, sexist male oaf?!” I shot back.
Just kidding. Instead, I was so embarrassed and bewildered; I wanted the floor to swallow me up. Then, with my second pregnancy, there was the elderly male neighbour who’d bellow at me: “Are you sure you’re not having twins?!” every single time I waddled past his house to get to the local shops.

I did give birth to two ten-pounders respectively, but that’s beside the point. When is it ever OK to make loud, public and very personal comments to a woman about her appearance, especially when she’s undoubtedly hormonal, emotional and hypersensitive? And, then there was the other neighbour who repeatedly commented on the largeness of my baby bump. Now, I may not have had the most petite of bumps, both pregnancies, but I hardly compared to say, “Octomom”.

And are women so insanely competitive, we need to measure up our bumps against the size of someone else’s?
Needless to say, I was thrilled when we moved to a new neighbourhood! I say it’s high time we start being a lot kinder to pregnant women. We should offer them kind words of praise and encouragement – if indeed they seek our opinions at all. Whenever I see a pregnant woman, I try to offer a kindly smile and nod of understanding and empathy. Pregnancy can be the most glorious, sexy, wonderful state, but also one often plagued by anxiety, fear and discomfort – we should all do our extra bit to ensure our pregnant sisters feel wonderful.


  • Compliment a pregnant friend, family member or colleague at every opportunity. Never tell her she looks tired.
  • Ask her how she feels and offer to help her, where possible. Be positive about her pregnancy – comments like “You won’t know what hit you!” or “You think you’re tired now?!” are mean and unhelpful.
  • Offer her gifts of rare gems (just kidding) – food parcels are a lovely way to aid her long days on her feet.


  • Never comment on the size of her bump, whether small or large. Both are equally offensive.
  • No tummy touching, unless you have her permission first. Even then, I’d tread with caution. Hormones are a killer, she might (and rightfully so) throw a punch.
  • Resist the temptation to regale her with your birth horror stories. This will only add to her anxiety levels, so keep it to yourself, sister.

By Nicole Carrington-Sima

June 5, 2014