The Ultimate Guide To A Belly-Only Pregnancy

Updated: July 30, 2019
Women everywhere are searching for how to have a belly only pregnancy, meaning weight gain only in the belly. Here is a a trimester-by-trimester guide of tips.
How to Have a Belly-Only Pregnancy

Expecting women everywhere are searching for how to have a belly-only pregnancy. A belly-only pregnancy means gaining weight only in the belly while keeping your limbs and behind toned and fit. 

More: Migraines During Pregnancy Could Lead to Serious Complications

Distribution of Weight During Pregnancy

Weight gain is a normal and healthy part of pregnancy. Assuming you start your pregnancy at a healthy weight, here is the average distribution:

  • Baby = 7.5 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds. 
  • Blood = 4 pounds
  • Body fluids = 4 pounds
  • Breasts = 2 pounds
  • Fat, protein and other nutrients = 7 pounds
  • Placenta = 1.5 pounds. 
  • Uterus = 2 pounds

Benefits of a Belly-Only Pregnancy

Staying in shape while expecting will help you look and feel your best. It isn’t just a confidence boost! You will have fewer aches and pains and get better sleep if you keep your weight gain under control. Labor and delivery may be easier too.

Keeping to a healthy weight while pregnant helps you lose weight faster later on. Your body naturally sheds pregnancy weight (especially if you breastfeed) at a slow but steady pace. However, it can be difficult if you put on lots of unnecessary pregnancy weight.

Should You Really Watch Your Weight while Pregnant?

Eating for two does not mean that you need to double your calorie intake. On the contrary, excessive weight gain is dangerous for your unborn baby. Putting on too many pounds puts you at risk for birth complications like early delivery, C-section, and excessive postpartum bleeding. 

Your Guide To a Belly-Only Pregnancy

Trimester 1

The start of pregnancy is not the most comfortable. Many women experience morning sickness and food aversions. Working out and strict diets are not a high priority at this time. First of all, you will probably not have the energy to exercise, nor will you be able to stomach much. Secondly, you will want to avoid overheating your body, which, during the first trimester, can affect fetal development. 

To sum it up, take things slow during the first trimester. Eat whatever you can keep down, and skip the vigorous exercise. Taking walks may be the best workout for you, and the fresh air may even ease your nausea. 

Check out this printable list of the do’s and don’ts of exercise during pregnancy for your complete guide.

Trimester 2

The second trimester comes with renewed energy and relief from morning sickness. Your appetite will probably come back in full force, so you will want to pay attention to what you eat. 

In a nutshell, eat healthily. Avoid processed or junk foods. Choose dense proteins and full fats (carrot sticks with hummus, yogurt with berries) in place of sugar and refined carbs. Aim for six small meals per day. Childbirth Doula and FamilyEducation Expert, Hehe Stewart, of Tranquility by Hehe reminds us to “listen to our bodies,” when it comes to eating during pregnancy. 

Take advantage of the extra spring in your step by getting back into your workout routine. Try to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four days per week. Focus on training that tones your arms, legs, and butt. 

It is best to stick with activities that you have already done pre-pregnancy. This is not the time to start pilates if you have never done it before. 

Make sure to talk with your coach or instructor and adjust as needed for safety during pregnancy. For example, you may need to switch out hot yoga for a non-heated class. Some sports put you at risk of falling or getting hit by a ball, and need to be abstained from.

Trimester 3

In the last stretch of pregnancy, the baby grows rapidly and you will “pop” if you have not already. This is when your energy levels start to slow down and your belly becomes cumbersome. 

Eating several small, dense meals during the day is vital in the third trimester. Your stomach is smaller later in pregnancy, as the baby takes up more space in your body cavity. Keep hydrated and eat inflammation-reducing foods like fennel and turmeric, so you don’t retain excess water weight. (Use CBD oil for inflammation? Check if it’s safe to use during pregnancy here.)

Continue your workout routine, slowing it down and adjusting as needed. Try to avoid becoming sedentary and return to taking walks if your regular exercise is no longer possible. Swimming is an exercise you can keep up all the way through pregnancy, as the water renders you weightless.

Focus on getting enough sleep during the third trimester. Sleep deprivation will spike your cortisol. This increases your appetite and decreases your reasoning skills. That is a recipe for an ice cream binge-fest. Plus, not getting enough sleep also puts your body into survival mode, which slows down metabolism.

Is a Belly-Only Pregnancy Really Possible?

Some women can truly achieve it, while others may only come close. A belly-only pregnancy is a great goal, but don’t stress if you gain some extra pounds elsewhere. Some body types will store fat in certain areas of the body, like the thighs. The most important goal is to gain a healthy amount of weight (about 25 pounds for most women carrying a singleton) and keep your body trim and fit. If you follow the above tips, you will show most of your weight in your belly, and look and feel amazing.

Heading to the beach before the summer is over? We have the Ultimate Guide to a Perfect Beach Day While Pregnant.