Fat Stomach vs. Pregnancy

You've noticed that your belly is a bit larger and rounder than usual and you're wondering whether you're eating too much or if you're pregnant. The question can be resolved with a simple home pregnancy test. However, if you're not ready to take a pregnancy test for whatever reason, there are other physical signs that may help clarify the matter. If the signs point to pregnancy, you should confirm your condition with a test and see a medical professional as soon as possible.


Pregnancy Symptoms

Having a large belly is only one sign of pregnancy -- and that doesn't usually occur until you're three, four or even five months along. The most reliable physical sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. Other signs include swollen or tender breasts, nausea, frequent urination, exhaustion, food cravings and a heightened sense of smell, among other things. However, some pregnant women experience none of these symptoms. The only way to be absolutely certain that you are pregnant is to take a blood test or have an ultrasound.


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Causes of Stomach Fat

Apart from pregnancy, your stomach can appear for a variety of reasons. Overeating is a common culprit. However, a fat belly can also be caused by eating foods that make you bloated with gas or make you retain water. Also, medical conditions such as constipation, hernia or in exceptional circumstances, a tumor can cause your stomach to appear swollen. Heredity can also play a big role: if one of your parents or other family members tends to gain weight around the stomach area, you might have the same genetic disposition. Finally, menopausal women tend to store fat in their abdominals as opposed to other parts of their bodies.


Dangers of Stomach Fat

If you are not pregnant, look into alternative causes of your fat belly. People who have wide waistlines are at greater risk for certain serious medical problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and even cancer. Measure the circumference of your waist and determine your weight and body-mass index to determine whether you have a weight problem.


Reducing Stomach Fat

When your belly fat is due to overeating, start paying attention to the foods you eat and how much you're eating. You can lose weight in your belly -- as well as other parts of your body -- by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugary foods, drinks and high-fat foods, and including more whole grains into your diet. Also, aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise to lose belly fat.

If you don't believe that your belly is caused by overeating, look at some of the foods you eat to determine whether it's caused by bloating. Raw cruciferous vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and onions, tend to cause stomach bloating. Reduce these foods in your diet to see whether your stomach swelling goes down.