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Can someone notice a pregnancy?

In the early stages of pregnancy, it can be difficult for others to notice any obvious physical signs. However, there are some subtle changes that may start to happen in the first trimester that close friends or family members may pick up on. In this article, we’ll explore when and how people may start to suspect someone is pregnant.

What are the early signs of pregnancy?

Some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, which happen in the first trimester, include:

  • Missed period
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breast changes including tenderness, swelling, or tingling feeling
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Frequent urination
  • Food cravings or aversions
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Headaches

While a missed period is often the first concrete symptom that makes a woman suspect she may be pregnant, nausea, fatigue, and breast tenderness are some other early tip-offs. These signs happen because of hormonal changes and happen before most women even realize they’ve missed their period. However, most of these could also be explained by other health issues like stress, illness, or changes in diet.

When does a pregnancy start to show?

Most women will not yet have an obvious baby bump in the first trimester. Here is a general timeline for when physical signs of pregnancy start to appear:

  • 4-6 weeks – No outward signs yet. Some may have a missed period or very early pregnancy symptoms like breast soreness.
  • 6-8 weeks – Possible swelling or fullness in the breasts. The areola area may change in diameter and color. Some minor abdominal bloating is possible.
  • 8-10 weeks – The waistline may start thickening slightly. Digestive symptoms like gas and constipation may cause some abdominal distention.
  • 10-12 weeks – The uterus is growing and starts pushing out the abdomen. Waistbands may feel snug. Maternity clothes may be more comfortable.

As you can see, most women will not have an obvious baby bump until the end of the first trimester around 10-12 weeks. Before this time, any fullness in the abdomen is typically minor bloating and not yet the enlarging uterus.

Can people tell you’re pregnant in the first trimester?

In the early first trimester, most women will look the same as they normally do before pregnancy. While serious fatigue, nausea, and other symptoms may make her feel pregnant, these aren’t outwardly visible.

However, some close friends or family members may suspect pregnancy in the first trimester based on subtle changes like:

  • Lifestyle changes – Eating more, less alcohol, more rest
  • Changing body – Breast swelling, puffy eyes, bloating
  • Moodiness – More irritable or emotional
  • Doctor visits – ObGyn check ups

People who know you well may pick up on slight differences even before you have an obvious baby bump. However, strangers are unlikely to notice a pregnancy until at least 12-16 weeks for most women.

How can you hide a pregnancy in the first trimester?

If you want to keep your pregnancy private in the first trimester, here are some tips:

  • Wear loose, flowing tops and dresses to hide abdominal changes.
  • Avoid clinging maternity clothes too soon.
  • Limit discussions about symptoms or doctor visits.
  • Keep up usual habits like social drinking.
  • Get good rest and exercise to keep energy levels up.
  • Use caution posting on social media.

With loose fitting clothing and making an effort to not act pregnant, you can likely keep it private for the first 12-14 weeks at least. But as your body changes, it will become difficult to disguise.

When do pregnancy symptoms peak?

For most women, nausea, fatigue, and other common discomforts associated with pregnancy tend to worsen around weeks 6-12 and then gradually improve going into the second trimester. Here is an overview of when most symptoms typically peak:

Symptom When it peaks
Nausea and vomiting Week 9
Fatigue Weeks 10-12
Bloating and gas Weeks 10-11
Food cravings/aversions Weeks 11-14
Frequent urination Week 12

As you can see, most discomforts of early pregnancy tend to ramp up somewhere between weeks 8 and 12 before easing up again in the second trimester. This is when many women look and feel their worst.

When does extreme fatigue tend to happen?

Fatigue is one of the most common and bothersome early pregnancy symptoms. It’s normal to feel very tired in the first trimester as your body works hard to support the pregnancy. Most women find their energy levels plummet around weeks 10-12. Take naps, go to bed early, and rest as much as possible during this time.

Why do food cravings happen?

Food cravings and aversions are very common in pregnancy. This is thought to happen due to hormonal changes. Most cravings tend to peak around weeks 11-14. Give into minor cravings if foods seem more appetizing, but try to generally eat a healthy diet.

When can other people feel the baby kick?

You will probably start feeling flutters and movement between weeks 16-22 of your pregnancy. This is called quickening. At first they will be very light and infrequent. Here is a general timeline for when others may be able to feel your baby kick:

  • 16-20 weeks – You can feel light tapping or butterflies
  • 20-24 weeks – More noticeable jabs and thuds
  • 24-28 weeks – Pokes and jabs can be felt on the outside of your belly
  • After 28 weeks – Kicks and whole body movements are very apparent to you and others

In most cases, it isn’t until 24-28 weeks that others will be able to feel obvious movement of the baby from the outside of your belly. In subsequent pregnancies they may be able to feel movement slightly sooner due to lax abdominal muscles.

What do first baby flutters feel like?

The first sensations of your baby moving are often described as feeling like soft tapping, bubbles, butterflies, or fluttering. They are easy to mistake for gas in the early weeks. Pay attention to notice if the sensation repeats in the same area.


While every woman is different, most do not “show” in an obvious way or have an identifiable baby bump until the end of the first trimester or start of the second trimester around 10-14 weeks. Before this time, any weight gain is minimal and clothing can typically hide abdominal changes successfully. However, close friends or family may suspect pregnancy earlier on due to subtle symptoms or behavior changes they notice. Extreme fatigue, breast tenderness, nausea, frequent urination, and aversion to alcohol are some early tip-offs that you are expecting. With loose, flowing clothing and discretion about symptoms and doctors appointments, it is possible to keep your pregnancy private for the first trimester if you wish. But as your body rapidly changes, it quickly becomes difficult to disguise the burgeoning belly and glowing look of an expectant mother.