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There's an old show called "I didn't know I was pregnant" where girls sometimes gain little to no weight and don't look pregnant, then suddenly give birth.

Is this unhealthy or dangerous for them or the baby? How important is it to have a large belly when you give birth?

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    A think a key adjective you are missing is "noticeable". Unlike the actresses who re-enact the stories for the show, most women in this situation are quite overweight. They gain weight but don't notice. I do know one very thin person who gained so little weight that she kept it secret until she was in labour, but she knew. – Kate Gregory Aug 19 '18 at 14:20

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