It’s easy to spot how excited Meghan Markle is to welcome her first child with Prince Harry — the duchess can’t seem to keep her hands off her bump! That was especially evident during her surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards on December 10. Unfortunately, her sweet gesture has actually been criticized by some despite it being a common action for most moms-to-be. Several social media users complained that Meghan was just looking for extra attention, but that doesn’t take into account how beneficial it is for the growing royal baby to have such an attentive and touchy-feely mama.
According to experts like Katharine Graves, a hypnobirthing teacher who trains midwives at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital (where Kate Middleton gave birth to all three of her babies), Meghan’s instinct to caress her bump helps release “feel good” hormones for her and her little one. “It’s a positive thing for both mom and baby to touch and reassure baby,” Graves told Daily Mail, “which is vital for baby’s bonding and well being, staving off [post-partum] depression, and facilitating healthy connection for all.”
A 2015 study from Dundee University in Scotland backs this claim. The researchers used sonograms to track the movements of babies in the womb and found that they not only responded positively to the feeling of mom’s touch, but were able to register the affectionate gesture early on in the pregnancy. That means that even when Meghan’s bump was still on the smaller side, she was helping her baby feel safe and comforted with her touch.
The What to Expect Foundation also explains how both parents interacting with the little one before the baby is born helps them become more aware of the world waiting for them outside mom’s belly. It also encourages the baby to move around and stretch inside the womb, which is good for their development. Plus, we’re sure Harry is just as hands-on when it comes to doting on his baby. We can totally see the prince singing silly songs and lullabies to the bundle of joy while he and Meghan wait to meet the cutie! The couple will clearly be amazing parents.