I can really tell now that my belly is getting bigger. It hasn't rounded out yet, but it's getting close. My instructor at the gym called it a "beer belly" today, and yeah, it really sort of looks like it. It's been a little tight the last couple days, which I can only assume is a result of its expansion. The skin and muscles have to adjust, I suppose, and it was a little extra sore right after my class at the gym tonight...guess all that movement didn't help matters.
I've been a devoted user of cocoa butter for the past couple months to prevent stretch marks, for when all of this major growth started. I have a couple stretch marks on my hips as souvenirs of puberty, and I don't really want to add to my collection. The clear ones (the kind I already have) are better than the purple ones that you see a lot of pregnant women with, but I really don't want any of them. The ones I have annoy me enough. I've been sticking with my workouts as much as possible to keep in shape now and make it easier on myself post-delivery. I'd hate to get back to a nice figure, only to not want to show any of it off because it's littered with stretch marks. A lot of it is genetics, though, and based on my mom I should be ok.
I did discover last week that I no longer need to work my abs. I can't remember if I mentioned the pregnant fitness instructor that visited our class last week, but she said that if you work your abs while they're split (to allow room for the belly--after 16 weeks or so) that it's harder to get them back in place after the baby. I won't miss doing crunches, but it's harder to avoid abs altogether than you'd think. I don't know if it's bad to work just the abs or if the whole core is an issue as well...but I'd think a little core strength isn't a bad thing.
Anyway, the big belly has been a lot more noticeable lately, for whatever reason...either because I'm wearing more maternity stuff and they make it more obvious, or because most of the time I see my belly it's bigger because my bladder's full, or because it's just getting undeniably bigger. I'll try to post a picture sometime soon, but honestly, right now it's still somewhere between looking grotesque without clothes and unimpressive with, so I'm not sure what to show you at this point. But I promise, sometime soon...