"I'm perfectly healthy, my baby is perfectly healthy, and that's all that matters."
Australian fashion designer Yiota Kouzoukas has been proudly sharing photos of her baby bump with her 200,000 Instagram followers. Unfortunately, some of the responses she's received aren't what she expected.
People have judged her small belly, asking whether she's eating properly or if her baby is healthy. So the 29-year-old, who's six months pregnant, shut down the haters by sharing exactly why her bump is as small as it is.
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*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 ❤️
"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," she recently wrote on Instagram. "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 judgmental [of] others and even themselves."
She explained that she has a tilted (retroverted) uterus as well as scarring because of endometriosis. If you've never heard of a "tilted uterus" before, you're probably not alone. But one in five women experiences it, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retroversion happens when a woman's uterus is naturally tilted backward instead of forward. Sometimes during pregnancy, it can get tipped forward again, but as in Yiota's case, scar tissue from endometriosis can hold it in its tipped position.
The good thing is, this condition doesn't affect your chances of getting pregnant and there aren't any health risks associated with it. (But some women can experience pain during sex because of an off-kilter uterus as well as menstrual pain, urinary tract infections, and trouble using tampons.)
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#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?
This isn't the first time the internet had thoughts about someone's pregnancy. When lingerie model Sarah Stage revealed she had a six-pack while eight months pregnant, commenters were quick to accuse her of not thinking about her unborn child. Fitness influencer Chontel Duncan was also slammed for proving that healthy pregnant women come in all shapes and sizes.
Thankfully, Yiota knows what's really important—and it's not internet trolls: "I'm perfectly healthy, my baby is perfectly healthy, and that's all that matters," Yiota says.
This article originially appeared on Shape.com.