The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is pregnant with her first child and is glowing. She was seen and photographed proudly cradling her growing baby bump while on stage at the British Fashion Awards on Monday.
Meghan gave everyone a surprise when she made an appearance at the ceremony which took place at the Royal Albert Hall. Meghan presented her wedding dress designer Clare Waight Keller with the British womenswear designer of the year award and was seen standing on stage with her hands cradling her stomach. Even though some fans were very excited to catch a glimpse of Meghan's baby bump, some fans called her out for "touching her stomach too much."
Many took to Twitter to share that it was "irritating" and "smug". One user wrote, "Oh ok we believe Meghan that you are pregnant stop holding that bump it's irritating now too much." While another user added, "Markle needs to desperately stop holding her baby bump because it’s not as if everyone doesn’t already know." A third tweet read, "Meghan we know you are pregnant. You can stop holding onto the bump with both hands now. It won’t fall off."
However, according to an expert, Meghan's habit of touching her baby bump or her tendency to protectively keep her arm on her stomach could very well have a positive impact on her unborn baby. According to the founder of KG Hypnobirthing, Katherine Graves, who spoke to FEMAIL, shared that when mothers-to-be put their hands on their pregnant bellies during hypnobirthing classes, 'the baby responds every time'. Even if the gesture/action comforts Meghan herself, it will "have a profound effect on her baby," Katherine added. Graves further explained that she helps to train midwives working at the Lindo Wing, where Kate Middleton gave birth.
She also added that "it's a positive thing for both mum and baby to touch and reassure." Katherine also revealed that the stroking action of the stomach is a relaxation method which she often asks her clients to practice in hypnobirthing classes. The touching of her bump will help Meghan to feel relaxed and calm, she further explained adding that this action helps to release the 'feel-good' hormone oxytocin which can positively affect her baby.
"It has been shown time and time again that babies recognize what they have experienced in the womb after they are born. They recognize songs they have heard, and they certainly recognize their mother’s and their father’s voices. Relaxations in hypnobirthing class involve having a hand on the bump, and the baby responds every time. A relaxed uterus gives the baby the space to turn into the optimal position for birth and relaxed mums produce feel-good hormone oxytocin, which goes directly to the baby via the placenta," Katherine shared.
She continued, "Touching her bump does nothing more than help Meghan feel calm, even that will have a profound effect on her baby as mother’s hormones have been shown to influence the baby too, calm births produce calm babies of which there is evidence for. It’s a positive thing for both mum and baby to touch and reassure baby, which is vital for babies' bonding and well being, staving off postnatal depression and facilitating healthy connection for all."
Katherine also discussed the negative effects that stress can cause and shared, "Being under strain and pressure from criticism puts mothers in the fear response with harmful hormone cortisol produced, which crosses to the placenta affecting the baby. Cortisol is a harmful side effect of stress, constricting oxygenated blood to the baby and having a negative effect on both. Meghan is practicing responsive natural parenting where touching, speaking and cradling her bump will be very beneficial for the baby."
The Deputy Head of Midwifery at Private Midwives, Liz Halliday added, "At public events, Meghan may feel more protective of her baby and thus cradle her bump more than usual. Mothers may feel that stroking their bump calms the baby in some situations and during public events, Meghan may be either consciously or sub-consciously attempting to do this."