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The Duchess of Sussex is catching flak for doing what pregnant women like to do: Rubbing her ever-expanding baby bump.
The former Meghan Markle surprised the audience of the British Fashion Awards earlier this week to present an award to the Givenchy designer who created her wedding dress.
The duchess looked stunning as always, wearing a sleek, one-shoulder black velvet Givenchy gown. But it wasn’t what she was wearing that has been the subject of admonishment from some on social media, but the fact that Meghan cradled her baby bump throughout the night.
The Duchess of Sussex and her husband, Prince Harry, are expecting their first child next spring.
After the couple shared the news publicly, Meghan’s growing belly has been figuring more prominently during her recent public appearances.
But even in October when she and the prince were visiting Australia, she has been photographed placing her hands gently beneath her then-just emerging bump.
But some just don't think the look is appropriate.
“#Meghan Markle holding on to that bump like someone’s about to snatch it,” wrote one Twitter user in response to images of the duchess at the awards show.
Another wondered when Meghan would “stop constantly cradling her bump!”
“Like the whole bloody world doesn’t know she’s pregnant & it’s not like she doesn’t get enough attention she craves,” she wrote in her tweet.
It’s somewhat hard for pregnant women to avoid their growing bellies, and rubbing their stomach often helps them bond with their baby. Studies show it helps the child, too.
Research that tracked fetus response found that when mothers rubbed their bellies, babies had more arm, head, and mouth movements than when the women did nothing or when they simply spoke to their child.
Meghan isn’t the first celebrity catching grief for showing pride in her baby bump. Even her sister-in-law, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been photographed giving her belly a rub during any one of her three pregnancies.
Khloe Kardashian also caught the ire of some social media users for doing the same thing but the reality star quickly clapped back at the time.
She told her haters she planned to “touch my bump and love my bump as often I choose.”
She also noted she waited years to have a child and planned to enjoy every single moment of her “very short” pregnancy.
But Meghan also had her share of defenders wondering what the fuss was about.
"In the supposed era of Body Positivity, there seems to be people who have an issue with Meghan cradling her baby bump," one person said on Twitter. "All of the people criticizing Meghan Markle for cradling her bump need to get a LIFE! It’s her body, it is her baby, and she can cradle it as much as she wants."