Early Pregnancy Bloating: Why it Happens and What You Can Do

My attempts to hide my pregnancy for a few more weeks seemed futile as I walked past the mirror at six weeks.

The night before my stomach was flat (well, as flat as it’s ever been). That morning? It looked like I was at least five or six months pregnant.

People say you always show sooner and bigger with your second, but I didn’t expect that to happen until a little later on.

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I’m all about embracing your baby bump – but man, I was only six weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe that I actually was already showing that much – part of me was convinced I must have been pregnant with twins!

Then I remembered hearing about this before – early pregnancy bloat. So, I googled it.

I was definitely not the only one to go to bed one morning and wake up with a belly the next.

Early pregnancy bloating is totally normal (as long as it’s not accompanied by severe abdominal pain, lots of diarrhea, bloody stool, or other blood.) It’s just kind of annoying! When it happened to me, I just hung out in my yoga pants and quickly ordered some belly bands just in case the early bump was permanent (I didn’t want to pull out maternity pants quite yet.)


It’s caused by a few different things –

  • Hormones (of course)
  • Constipation – this is common during all stages of pregnancy. The increase of progesterone levels, which in turn causes smooth muscles – including the digestive tract – to relax. Because baby can take some of the extra water from mom, it can cause stool to be more dry – hence causing the constipation.
  • Gas
  • Uterus swelling

Fortunately, there are a few things you can to do “combat” it so you can get back to fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans for a few weeks longer. There were two things I did that pretty much made the bloat go away as fast as it appeared, and I didn’t look pregnant for a lot longer. I mean, here I was at almost 20 weeks:

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So, what I did was just increase my water intake like crazy and exercise. Not gonna lie – this was a little miserable to do at first, because I was feeling so sick. Water isn’t exactly easy on the stomach, and, well, I didn’t really want to exercise. However, they did make me feel  better after the fact, and I didn’t feel quite as uncomfortable.

I drank a lot of water – at least 100 ounces – this 75 ounce water bottle might be a good investment. You should increase your water intake anyways when pregnant to help prevent swelling, headaches, etc. Especially when you love at a high altitude like I do. It helps to flush out the system and prevent constipation. I’m not sure why exercise helps, but I really feel like it did. I didn’t do anything to crazy – just about 20-30 minutes on the elliptical at the gym – but I saw an immediate improvement. Even just going on a long walk can help!

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Yoga (here are some great prenatal pregnancy videos)
  • Eliminate stress
  • Have smaller meals
  • Avoid gassy or bloat-inducing foods (for me, that meant avoiding dairy and greasy foods!)
  • Pull out the pregnancy pants! haha! If you don’t have any and you want some cute, new maternity clothes, definitely check out Stitch Fix. For $20, you get a carefully curated box of cute clothes, and they have maternity! The $20 can be applied to anything you buy from the box (but you aren’t obligated to get anything!)

As always, I am not a doctor or medical profession. This is just information provided from my own personal experience. While some bloating is completely normal, if you have any reason for concern, consult your doctor immediately. Swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

Six weeks and already look pregnant? This might be why.

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4 Comments

  • Ugh! I am at this stage. Baby #5, only 9 weeks and not wanting to tell the world yet but jeans won't button anymore. Exercising is SO the last thing I want to do right now but maybe I need to force myself. Thanks Katie!
    • I didn't know you were pregnant! YAY! But I totally understand what you mean (obviously lol!) And I understand about not wanting to exercise - I literally had to drag myself to the gym. It always made me feel better though. I think if you make sure you get enough water, that will help a lot! Hope everything is going well :)

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