A mother who was gawked at for having a "huge" baby bump won't surrender to pregnancy shaming.
Eliana Rodriguez, 29, just gave birth to her second child, a son named Sebastian. Her pregnancy and her baby were healthy, but Rodriguez's larger-than-average stomach drew wide eyes and unfiltered comments: “You are huge,” “You look like you’re having twins,” “You must be in so much pain” and “Have you checked if there’s another baby in there?”
While a big pregnancy bump can signal certain health problems, in other cases it’s perfectly natural and just the way a woman’s body grows. Rodriguez told TODAY Parents that she and her baby were and are totally healthy.
"I carried big during my pregnancies; both my children weighed 8.3 pounds at birth," Rodriguez told TODAY Parents, adding that her newborn son measured 20.5 inches and her 3-year-old daughter Sofia was 19.5 inches at birth.
Rodriguez said it was easy to ignore Instagram trolls, but people were often nosy in person as well.
“I was never rude back,” said Rodriguez, who said she understood the curiosity. “I’d answer, ‘Yes, I am huge and it’s hard.’”
"I wondered why my belly was bigger than other women," said Rodriguez, who owns a health-and-wellness company in Las Vegas, Nevada. "My doctors said it was normal because I am only 4'11 and have a shorter torso."
Rodriguez started showing by two months.
"I was so excited that I wanted to share — we had been trying for a second baby and hoping for a boy and I am an open person," she said.
In pregnancy, Rodriguez carried a lot of amniotic fluid, liquid inside the amniotic sac that protects the fetus while allowing it to move.
An excess is called "polyhydramnios," which the Mayo Clinic says happens to one to two percent of pregnancies. Most cases aren't serious, although it can cause preterm labor.
Rodriguez told TODAY Parents that while she had a lot of amniotic fluid, her doctors said it wasn't enough to be diagnosed as polyhydramnios.
"They did check the amount of fluids and checked the baby’s size,” she said.
According to Dr. Kiarra King, an OBGYN in Chicago, Ill., (who did not treat Rodriguez), other reasons for excess fluid are maternal diabetes and malformations in fetal anatomy.
And polyhydramnios isn’t the only explanation for why a pregnant belly would appear larger. Fetal macrosomia (when babies weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth), maternal obesity or Diastasis recti (when abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy) from previous pregnancies can also make a patient appear a more advanced gestational age than they are. Luckily, Rodriguez experienced none of these complications.
While Rodriguez handled the prying questions, she said she wishes people would keep their pregnancy-shaming and body-shaming comments to themselves. She said opinions on bodies, especially if someone has perinatal or postpartum depression, can put women "in a dark place."
"I’m aware that some people lack compassion for others,” said Rodriguez. “I am a woman of faith and ... I feel so bad for people saying hateful comments.”