By now most of us know that pregnant women can carry differently from one another — some women have bigger baby bumps, some have smaller bumps, some barely show, and some gain weight everywhere. And all, it should be noted, are beautiful.
However, it's an unfortunate fact that some people feel the need to critique moms-to-be who don't show as much as the next pregnant woman.
Yiota Kouzoukas, a co-owner of online clothing store Sabo Skirt, was one of those women on the receiving end of criticism after she posted Instagram photos of her stomach while she was six months pregnant.
In the caption of a photo she posted Oct. 9, Kouzoukas noted that she was getting comments on her "lack" of a baby bump.
"For the first four months of my pregnancy, my uterus was retroverted/tilted which means that I was growing backwards into my body rather than outwards," she wrote. "Most people with this type of uterus tilt forward at around 12 weeks and continue growing outwards like you normally would."
For the first four months of my pregnancy, my uterus was retroverted/tilted which means that I was growing backwards into my body rather than outwards.
She continued: "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."
A tilted uterus is actually fairly common, notes Carolyn Kubik, a fertility specialist, in BabyCenter. "In fact, having a tilted uterus is a normal anatomical variation, just like eye or hair colour. In most women, the uterus tips slightly forward (anteverted), toward the bladder, but in some women, it tilts backward (retroverted), toward the spine," she writes, adding that a tilted uterus does not make it harder to conceive.
That being said, Kubik notes that a retroverted uterus could be caused by an underlying condition, and it's this condition that can make it more difficult to conceive.
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According to Michael Cackovic, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, about 20 per cent of uteri are tilted and it's impossible to tell if you have one unless you go through a pelvic exam or ultrasound.
While a tilted uterus can make bumps appear smaller, or appear later in the pregnancy, there may be other reasons why a bump may be smaller, for example if you're taller or have strong abs, Cackovic explained to Self magazine.
All baby bumps, it should be noted, are beautiful.
And, as Kouzoukas noted on her Instagram post, despite having a small baby bump, she and her baby are doing well.
"I'm perfectly healthy, baby is perfectly healthy and that's all that matters," she wrote. "Our bodies and bumps are all different and our shapes and sizes are all different too."
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