I Was Overweight And Pregnant. Sadly, No One Noticed My Baby Bump

I Was Overweight and Pregnant

“You’re pregnant?”

I stared, crest-fallen, at the blood lab receptionist, who was shocked I was there for a gestational glucose tolerance test.

“Yes. 28 weeks,” I responded.  I wasn’t just pregnant. I was very pregnant. Two-thirds done pregnant.

“Wow. You don’t look pregnant at all,” the lab receptionist told me. I’m not sure if it was meant as a compliment or just a simple observation, but it stung. And it wasn’t an isolated incident.

I’d dreamed of being pregnant since I was a little girl. I couldn’t wait for the day I was grown up and walking around, sporting a beautiful baby bump. I anxiously awaited the “when are you due?” questions. I wanted the annoyance at having strangers want to touch my growing belly. I had dreamed that people would look at me with the same quiet reverence that I gazed at expectant moms who crossed my path.

Baby Bellies are magical, and pregnant women glow.

But when it was my turn, no one knew. I just looked fat, as usual. There was a bump there, I could see it and I could feel it, but when I excitedly went to visit friends, they joyfully told me I “didn’t look pregnant at all,” as though that would be flattering or a compliment. It wasn’t. I wanted to look pregnant. Because I was.

It was no better with my second baby. I worked at a daycare until I was full term, but unless I told the parents, none of them realized I was, again, pregnant until the day I wore a particularly revealing dress at nine months into my pregnancy. My boss commented that, for the first time, I actually looked pregnant, even though I was about to give birth. I had doubled in size by then, but when you start out big, apparently no one notices when you get even bigger. Even with a growing baby.

One day, the maintenance worker I conversed with every morning noticed I was missing and asked my co-worker where I was. Apparently, his jaw dropped when he heard I was on maternity leave.

My lovely baby bump I had dreamed of since childhood was B-shaped. I didn’t even look pregnant to myself much of the time, though I thought about it all the time.

Being overweight put a cloud over both my pregnancies in more ways than aesthetics. From the moment the second line appeared, I was aware I was at a higher risk of losing this baby. The scene in ‘This is Us’  (Spoiler Alert!) where Kate tells Toby she is pregnant, “But don’t get too excited” because her weight put the pregnancy in jeopardy. That definitely resonated with me. It was the same speech I gave my parents when I announced my happy news to them.

My weight was used as a qualifier at every appointment, even though I had very body-positive OB, and midwives. I would need extra glucose tolerance tests, I’d have to be very careful about gaining weight, I’d be at a higher risk for all pregnancy complications.

My midwives were required to have me do a consult with an OB because of my high BMI. This OB was much less body positive. He foretold a horrific birth for me because of my increased mass, and told me I absolutely needed to have an OB deliver my baby. I was heartbroken.

I counted down to the 20-week ultrasound so I could share the coveted profile of my beautiful baby, but the extra layers of my weight made a crisp picture impossible. My baby looked like a blurry Wolfman.

But here is the thing: despite all the doom and gloom that accompanied being pregnant and obese, I had two of the easiest pregnancies imaginable. I did not get gestational diabetes (though some of my skinny friends did) My blood pressure was never even slightly elevated, nor were any of my other tests ever askew. My midwives eventually let me know they thought the OB I had been to for a consult was full of s**t, and there was no reason I couldn’t deliver with a midwife. I went on to have a short, easy, uncomplicated birth.

Still, it’s a harsh reality to be pregnant when no one noticed my bump. But I did. I watched it grow, and I felt every movement of the baby within it. Looking back, it was so magical to me, whether strangers stopped me or not. I wish that I hadn’t been so emotional about the fact no one noticed or got excited about my pregnancy. But I’m human. Plus, I got my fill of being stopped by strangers, once my beautiful baby was on the outside.

If you are reading this while overweight and pregnant, and are being bombarded with negativity, listen to me closely: Heed the warnings, and listen to your doctors or midwives, but compartmentalize it with the rest of the prenatal care, like avoiding soft cheese.

And, yes, take the belly photos. Wear the maternity shirts. Show off your bump, even if no one else notices. It’s as beautiful as any other bump, and there is magic inside it.

Your body is good. You are stunning. Congratulations.




  1. Corrie on January 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Oh mama! I feel you! I was pregnant with twins and LOST weight because I was so sick (morning sickness was whole pregnancy sickness I was ebbing growth hormone 😂) but starting my pregnancy at 195lbs and ending it at 180lbs (I had dropped to 165 near 15 weeks) nobody was stopping me to comment. I too was perfectly healthy despite the one dehydration ER visit; no gestational diabetes, my iron was better than it had ever been, and for a little while it was nice to be at my “ideal body weight”. Anyway, I completely understand. Reading all these articles about how moms wish you wouldn’t touch them without permission, or ask you all this weird private questions, never happened to me with strangers. And I took the bus a lot! No one noticed! Even one of my male coworkers had no clue! Thought I was just getting a little round, around Christmas! I secretly wished it would, wasnt it supposed to happen? And with twins! I was supposed to be HUGE! But my one babe was atypical and was nice and cushy in my bladder and stomach I guess, so sometimes it was just the other babe sticking out, was super funny to see without my shirt on! But I digress, with twins I get stopped A LOT now so it all works out.

  2. April on January 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Loved reading your story. I know women who were overweight when they were pregnant and didn’t show. From looking at your picture, I wouldn’t say you looked that overweight. You look healthy and happy. Maybe you just needed to wear tighter pregnancy clothes to help show off that bump.

  3. Liz on January 12, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    First of all you look beautiful in your photos! I was quite large when I had my kids. One trick that helped me was dressing a little differently. People who knew me well noticed the difference (even though I LOST weight during my first pregnancy!) and I think it’s because I wore more maternity-style clothing and stopped wearing belts & tucking things in. Strangers didn’t notice, but that was OK with me. My friends/family/co-workers noticed the A-line tops and change in my style and jumped to the right conclusion. 🙂 Sounds like I also had more diplomatic OB & lab staff. Sorry that happened to you. They shouldn’t have been so rude. Finally, I did have complications, but ended up with 2 gorgeous healthy babies and now I enjoy good health myself, so it was all worth it. Thanks for sharing this story.

  4. NJ on January 18, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I want to say Thank you for you honesty! I am sure many women can relate yet hide the same feelings.
    I don’t know how this makes sense but I want to share that I had a time where I was asked more than once if I was pregnant and wasn’t. I cringed with embarrassment. Can’t a girl wear lose clothing? So it happens both ways I guess.

  5. Cat26 on November 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I had the same experience with my pregnancy. Most people told me I didn’t look pregnant, but as much as that stung, over all had a healthy pregnancy and did not suffer much from nausea and vomitting, nor did I suffer from gestational diabetes, but also knew of skinnier women who did have this problem. Being on social media was a bit tough because as much as I wanted to show off the “bump”, felt there was no point in posting any photos of myself since no one could notice I was pregnant, but only noticed me as being really fat, and it is difficult to be proud of that.

  6. Serene on December 9, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you for your kind words and motivation. Meant a lot.

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