Many women chronicle their pregnancies on social media, but most don’t get criticized for how small their baby bumps are. Fashion designer Yiota Kouzoukas — who's expecting her first child, a son — has been fielding questions and comments about her small bump throughout her pregnancy, though, so she felt the need to finally speak out about it.
In a candid Instagram post, the 9-months-pregnant co-owner of Australian brand Sabo Skirt told followers that a tilted uterus and prior complications from endometriosis were responsible for her smaller-than-average bump.
“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,” Kouzoukas wrote. “Most people with this type of uterus tilt forward at around 12 weeks and continue growing outwards like you normally would."
The backwards tilted position of her uterus and old scarring from endometriosis meant Kouzoukas had to wait a little longer for her uterus to “flip,” though. “Now, at #6monthspregnant I’m growing forwards just like everyone else while the scarring on my ligaments slowly breaks down,” she wrote.
The fashion designer has been chronicling her pregnancy on Instagram for months, sharing photos of her bump along the way.
Many women are born with a tilted uterus or can develop retroversion as a result of varied conditions, said Heather Guidone, Program Director at the Center for Endometriosis Care (CEC). While common in those with endometriosis, not every woman with a tilted uterus will develop the disease.
Although the CEC doesn’t personally treat Kouzoukas, Guidone said there are a range of potential factors that could lead to pregnancy complications such as a smaller bump. In general, though, an endometriosis diagnosis shouldn’t discourage women from getting pregnant.
“Endometriosis is largely considered a benign disease, and although it’s associated with infertility, many affected individuals can and do have successful pregnancies,” Guidone said.
As with any condition, endometriosis comes with its own set of risks, and pregnant women with endometriosis can sometimes experience complications such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, low birth weight or early birth, according to data. At the same time, early and proper treatment for the disease and careful monitoring can ensure a safe pregnancy in patients with endometriosis.
In general, a small bump such as Kouzoukas’ shouldn’t cause grave concern, Guidone said, provided the patient is working closely with her healthcare team. But a small bump isn’t necessarily a reality for all women with endometriosis.
“It’s her reality; my reality was very different. Some folks have a very large bump, and some don’t,” Guidone, who herself suffered from stage 4 endometriosis, infertility and pregnancy complications, explained. “That’s not to say that a woman without endometriosis wouldn’t have a similar situation. It really depends on the patient and her personal situation.”
At the end of the day, the health of mother and baby is the most important thing, and Kouzoukas told her followers that they’re both doing well: “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.”