I love documenting the fun and special times in my life. So when I was pregnant I was determined to find ways to remember my growing belly, and the precious life inside. I especially wanted ways that once the baby was born, would help me visualize exactly how big my belly was! Here are some fun ways to measure and document your growing belly!

Tale of the Tape

This is what my husband and I called measuring my belly with a piece of ribbon. I got this idea from a baby shower game. I tried to find a piece of green ribbon, in the perfect shade of baby green, because when I started measuring my belly we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl. I searched high and low and couldn’t find what I liked, so I used white. I ended up liking that choice.

I started measuring my four week belly, which documented the starting point and the point I wished to return to – someday. Every couple weeks I measured my belly with the ribbon, going through my belly button as a reference point. I would mark a line on the ribbon with a pen and write the week next to it.

Here is what my ribbon looked like:

In case you can’t see the numbers very well, week 4 is on the right and week 24 is on the left. Being the engineers we are, my husband and I decided to do some calculations at that point:

  • Week 4 belly: 26.25″
  • Week 24 belly: 34″
  • Belly growth so far: 7.75″
  • Belly growth increase: 29.5%

Yes, by doing those calculations we opened ourselves up to being called geeks – but that’s OK!

It was interesting to see that my belly was biggest about week 37, and then I got a smaller measurement after that. I am sure this is because the baby dropped and so measuring through my belly button showed a smaller number.

I will give you one word of caution, though. Even though after the baby is born it’s fun to wrap the ribbon around your waist and see how big you once were (it’s the whole reason for doing this after all), it was a little shocking to see that I was no where near the week four line on the ribbon. And this was nine months after the birth, when I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight! I was closer to the week 16 line. *sigh*

Photo Collage

Once I saw this idea I knew it was perfect for me, the photo lover! My husband took a side photo of me once a week while I was wearing the same outfit against the same background. We started at week 12, although I wish I would have started sooner. Because I am so, um, ‘precise’ about things, I insisted the photo be taken on the exact day of the week when I entered my new pregnancy week (if that makes sense). So every Tuesday was picture day!

I then created an 8×10 template in Photoshop Elements, re-sized some of the images, and placed them in the template. I ended up using photos from every other week. I will say that this is a VERY basic template and I’m sure if you have more PS skills than I do, you could make a really beautiful photo collage. I was just going for ‘show all the bellies’.

My collage shows pictures of me biweekly from week 12 through week 38. I went into labor one day before week 40. While I was laboring at home, I was even thinking of changing into this outfit and taking one more final shot for ‘week 40’. But then the, um, ‘precise’ side of me would say I cheated because technically I didn’t get to 40 weeks. But I digress.

8/1/13 UPDATE: I just opened my Etsy shop and I can make these belly collage photos for you, all you need to do is send me your photos. I’ve created nicer templates that include color options. Check out my store Drumming Mum Designs!

Belly Cast

Another really fun idea is to create a belly cast, or mold, of your beautiful belly! Or create several throughout your pregnancy and see the change. You can do it yourself with this Belly Cast Kit by ProudBody. For casting and decorating tips (and many photos showing unique ideas) visit their website (www.proudbody.com). These casting kits are much cheaper than I imagined; I wish I would have done this!

Another neat site I found is www.Originalbellyworks.com. Let your creativity flow!

One thought about these though – where will you put it when it’s done?

Maternity Photos

Many more women are wanting beautiful maternity photos as a way to remember the amazing time when they are pregnant. There are many photographers who do this; you can do a search for photographers near you. Since my hobby is photography, my husband and I decided to take our own maternity photos. I hung a black vellux blanket on a backdrop stand in my game room upstairs (which has great natural light). I got the camera ready and handed it to my husband. I had a few poses in mind and then we just started shooting. Here are some of my favorites; hopefully they provide you with some ideas and inspiration!

Many people wonder about the best time to take maternity photos. You want to be far enough along to have a good-sized belly, but you also want to be able to move around comfortably. We took ours when I was 37 weeks along, as I wanted the biggest belly possible! I was in perfectly good health and still exercising a lot, so moving around wasn’t an issue for me.

Another questions people have is what to do with these photos once you have them? We framed a few and have them in our bedroom. You could also put some in a small photo album and leave it on your coffee table.

In addition to these types of maternity photos, don’t forget to take casual snapshots of your growing belly every once in awhile – like these:

23 weeks

23 weeks

37 weeks

37 weeks

Pregnancy is definitely one of the most special times in a woman’s life and it’s a time worth remembering. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, you won’t be pregnant forever! And you will forget exactly how big your belly was! You will be so happy that you took the time to document this amazing time in your life!

Wendy – Parenting Tips 365

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