Since the announcement that the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry are expecting a baby in Spring next year, all eyes have been on the royal bump.
While their 16-day trip to 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, provided ample opportunity for fans to check out the Duchess’ epic tourdrobe, people couldn’t also help but notice the number of times the mum-to-be touched and cradled her growing bump.
I’m not sure if it’s a natural thing to do when pregnant or whether it’s a little bit staged. I’m never totally sure if some of Meghan’s actions are for show or sincere. Still can’t work her out! *takes a step back to watch the impending twitter fight unravel*
— Amy Balcomb (@BalcombAmy) October 23, 2018
There’s hardly a bump to hold but Meghan Markle has been grabbing that little nothing ever since the pregnancy was announced 😂😭. Do your thing homegirl 🔥 pic.twitter.com/UdsYo1U0NO
— Princess Consuela Bananahammock 🌻 (@___Dahlia____) October 26, 2018
But while some were of the opinion Meghan might be “over-doing” the bump-love, others leapt to the Duchess’ defence praising her for creating a connection with her unborn baby.
I think it’s sad that people are questioning Meghan’s sincerity surrounding her bump. I once had a baby growing inside me, I can remember feeling a protection of it regardless of it only being a bean. I lost that baby. Touching my tum was the only connection I ever had to it. pic.twitter.com/lS1NRG6bB2
— Lauren Parkinson (@LadyParky79) October 23, 2018
Meghan doing what every expectant mum does, loving and protecting her bump.
Her bump is getting bigger by the day and she looks radiant. pic.twitter.com/4V6Oq7KRHP
— Cate (@cate255) October 23, 2018
But, according to one expert, there’s a reason why the Duchess is often seen resting her hands on her growing bump.
Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book and expert speaker at The Baby Show, says there are several reasons pregnant women tend to touch their baby bumps and one of those could be the fact that they are feeling movements or ‘flutterings.’
“During the first 18 to 20 weeks in your first pregnancy, you start to feel those first flutterings of your baby which can feel like a feather brushing against you so it could be that Meghan is feeling this and responding by touching her tummy,” she explains.
The other reason could be more subconscious.
“With Meghan in the public eye and so many crowds around it could be an instinctive protective movement where she touches her belly to reassure herself, and her baby,” Milli explains. “So many women do this subconsciously particularly if they are in busy areas.”
And with the 37-year-old being rushed away from a visit to Suva Municipal Market last week after a “security scare” over the busy-ness of the area, that would certainly make sense.
Alternatively the Duchess could just be trying to create a bond with her little one.
But whatever the reason Meghan is fond of cradling her bump, science says it’s a good thing.
Recent research has suggested that foetuses respond powerfully to belly touches.
Researchers at Dundee University in Scotland examined 23 pregnant women in their second and third trimesters as they were performing three activities: talking, stroking their bellies and lying still with their hands at their sides.
Using sonograms and tracking the movements of the babies in the womb, the researchers found not only that the babies moved around most during the touching activity, but also that they responded to touch at a much earlier state of gestation than had previously been found.
All the Duchess of Sussex’s royal tour looks
“Research from the University of Dundee last year found that babies can actually recognise the mother’s touch from inside the womb and respond so it is a comfort to them so Meghan may intuitively feel this and that could be why,” Milli explains.
So despite some bump cradling criticism, by rubbing and touching her bump not only is Meghan doing what feels natural but she’s actually creating a bond with her baby which can only serve to strengthen their relationship once the royal baby arrives. Awww!
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