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.
*BUMP SIZE* I receive a lot of DMs and comments regarding the size of my bump, which is why I want to explain a few things about my body. Not that I’m upset/affected by these comments at all, but more for the reason of educating in the hope that some people are less judgemental on others and even themselves. 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. Most people with this type of uterus tilt forward at around 12 weeks and continue growing outwards like you normally would. My uterus didn’t “flip forward” until well into being 4 months pregnant because of the backwards tilted position paired with decade old endometriosis scarring that I have on my uterosacral ligaments. Basically, these ligaments are acting like anchors keeping my uterus “inside” rather than “outside”, which is why I appeared smaller than most people for the first 4 or 5 months. Now, at #6monthspregnant I’m growing forwards just like everyone else while the scarring on my ligaments slowly breaks down. My torso is also short and my stomach is naturally toned which is keeping my belly super tight, so I’ve had to personally stop all ab exercises to avoid any issues with possible ab separation. This is for me personally, as instructed by my doctor and is in no way a blanket rule for anyone else. I’m perfectly healthy, baby is perfectly healthy and that’s all that matters. Our bodies and bumps are all different and our shapes and sizes are all different too ❤️
A post shared by Yiota Kouzoukas (@yiota) on Oct 9, 2017 at 2:53am PDT
“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.
#6monthspregnant today I can’t believe how fast this is going. This is my belly growth from months 3, 4 and 5! So blessed with no issues these past 2 months ❤️ My placenta is at the back of my uterus, which is why I’ve been so spoilt with kicks, big and small. Anyone else have this?
A post shared by Yiota Kouzoukas (@yiota) on Oct 1, 2017 at 2:12am PDT
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.
This photo is from 2 weeks ago at #25weekspregnant Throwback as I’ve been sick with migraines and haven’t been able to take any new pics. Thank you to everyone who messaged me with their own personal migraine cures ❤️My migraines are muscle/scar tissue related from multiple car accidents, so I usually stay on top of them with remedial massage, physio and regular exercise. Unfortunately due to being pregnant, I haven’t been able to stay on top of my management as well as usual so I’ve been down and out with migraines again. 4 days, lots of sleep, crying, vomiting and massages later, I woke up feeling great today! Let’s hope it stays this way ❤️ Anyone else suffer from migraines while pregnant that aren’t hormonal? PS. thanks @gkazoo1 for the endless neck and back massages
A post shared by Yiota Kouzoukas (@yiota) on Oct 22, 2017 at 3:41pm PDT
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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