By the time we reach adulthood, we pretty much understand that it's in poor taste to comment on someone else's body. But for some reason, the rules seem to go out the window when the person's body happens to be growing a baby.
Probably every pregnant woman out there has had at least one person comment on her body—how big or small her belly is, how it “must be twins!" or she's “so tiny!"
I do actually think that it comes from a place of caring and love. We get excited about the prospect of a new baby. We genuinely care for the baby's wellbeing, as well as their mamas, and sometimes our excitement and concern just gets the best of us and stuff comes out.
But here's the thing—being on the receiving end of those comments can be really, really hard, especially when there is a medical reason behind why a woman's bump may look slightly different than we're used to seeing.
This happened to blogger Yiota Kouzoukas, when she shared her pregnancy photos on Instagram. People dove into the comments, saying things like, “How are u so [tiny] at 8 months your tummy looks so small" and “is there any reason why you are so small?... I was just wondering if you have regular scans?"
Kouzoukas handled it with total grace though. She wrote:
“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... I'm growing forwards just like everyone else while the scarring on my ligaments slowly breaks down....
“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 ❤️."
The condition she describes, a retroverted or tilted uterus, is actually quite common—1 our of 5 women have one! Normally, the uterus tilts slightly forward, as seen in this photo:
Retroverted uteruses simply tilt backwards, instead of forwards.
Sometimes women are just born with them. Other times they develop when a women has endometriosis (a condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus) or fibroids (growths in or on the uterus).
Having a retroverted uterus usually does not affect your ability to get pregnant or carry a healthy pregnancy to term.
It may be slightly hard to see or hear the baby on regular ultrasounds, so you'll probably have more transvaginal ultrasounds than abdominal ones (where a wand is inserted into your vagina to see the baby, instead of on your belly). You may also experience slightly more back pain as your baby grows.
But by the time you are in your second trimester, your uterus will likely tilt forward (from the weight of your growing baby), and your pregnancy should progress normally!
Certainly there are variations to everything, so if you are concerned, speak with your doctor or midwife.
In the meantime, we raise our glasses of orange juice and toast Ms. Kouzoukas for bravely acknowledging all those commenters, and inspiring women around the world to own and rock their bumps with pride.