The Duchess of Cambridge is eight months pregnant with baby no. 3, and while her pregnancy has caused speculation around everything from the baby’s gender to when the baby will make his/her first appearance — her baby bump is also drawing attention. Why? It seems to be much larger than it was during both her pregnancies with Prince George and Prince Charlotte.
Former midwife and Clinical Director at the Women’s Health Clinic Aly Dilks says this change in the body is common if the woman is pregnant for the third time.
“Essentially, each pregnancy will have its own differences and similarities but we do expect ladies to have bigger babies the more children they have,” Dilks told the Daily Mail.
According to Dilks, this common occurrence after multiple pregnancies is because the body knows what to do to make space for the baby and ensure it is properly nourished in the womb. When it comes down to it, her changing body comes down to muscle memory.
“During your first pregnancy the body uses hormones to make changes to accommodate the baby. As your rib cage widens and your uterus expands, it can take time to establish a real ‘bump’,” explained Dilks. “By the second pregnancy, the rib cage has already widened giving the uterus plenty of time to expand and baby to ‘pop’ more quickly.”
“In subsequent pregnancies the body has a sense of muscle memory, so patients often report digging out their maternity jeans almost as soon as the test turns positive.”
Another contributing factor to the Duchess’s different form could come down to how the placenta is resting this time around.
“The location of the placenta can change with each pregnancy as the egg can attach anywhere within the womb,” explained Dilks. “It might be that previously Kate had an anterior placenta — where the baby faces towards the woman’s back — and this time she is having a posterior placenta, where the baby faces outwards and has a bit more room.”
When it comes to changes in the body, it’s not just the stomach that changes. Dilks says it’s common for women going through their second or third pregnancy to have larger breasts.
“Our bodies really are miraculous, so regardless of whether or not you have breastfed previously your breasts will still prepare to feed again… Mothers who have breastfed before report that they usually experience earlier leakage simply because their breasts know what they’re doing,” she said.
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