Twenty-nine-year-old Yiota Kousoukas is six months pregnant, but you might not be able to tell at first.
The social media influencer has a medical condition that causes her baby belly to grow “backward,” concealing the true size of her unborn child.
Kousoukas shared the details of her condition on Instagram after being targeted by body shamers online. The co-owner of Australian clothing brand Saboskirt, she has more than 209,000 Instagram followers, some of whom have criticized the mom-to-be for her modest baby bump.
“The worst comments have to be the ones along the lines of ‘No more baby in that belly’ or ‘Start eating more so your baby can grow.’ When I first started seeing comments like these, I became paranoid that something was wrong,” she says. “I wanted other pregnant women to know that my size was due to physical attributes that are out of my control.”
So she shared the explanation she got from her doctor.
“For the first 4 months of my pregnancy, my uterus was retroverted/tilted which means that I was growing backwards into my body rather than outwards,” her caption reads.
While it’s technically impossible for a fetus to grow “backward,” Aaron Styer, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at CCRM Boston in Massachusetts, says the backward tilt of a pregnant woman’s uterus can later skew the size of her baby bump.
It’s more common than you’d think, affecting about one in five women.
“A retroverted uterus is normal and does not increase a woman’s risk for infertility or miscarriage,” said Styer, who has not treated Kousoukas.
The mom-to-be goes on to explain that her pregnancy is a little more complicated: Along with her tilted uterus, Kousoukas also has scarring from endometriosis on the ligaments that keep her uterus in place — preventing her belly from “popping” like most other women at the same stage of pregnancy.
There are many factors that contribute to the varying size of pregnancy. Like babies themselves, no two baby bumps are the same. Having now opened up, Kousoukas says she’s heard from other women who are expecting who say they’ve also been judged or ridiculed for their appearance.
“Social media has caused a shift that leads everyone to fixate on bump size rather than the health of the baby and mom-to-be,” she says.
So while her post is full of facts for haters, she concludes by sharing what’s most important: “I’m perfectly healthy, my baby is perfectly healthy, and that’s all that matters.”
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