Family Matters

Is Kate Middleton Too Thin to Be Pregnant?

It isn’t easy being pregnant, and it sure isn’t easy being a pregnant Kate Middleton.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton leave the King Edward VII hospital where The Duchess was being treated for acute morning sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) on December 06, 2012 in London.

It isn’t easy being pregnant, and it sure isn’t easy being a pregnant Kate Middleton.

As the Duchess of Cambridge leaves the hospital after being treated for extreme nausea, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, the inevitable scrutiny on her expectant and expanding waistline is just beginning.

For expectant mothers who are pregnant along with the princess, the vicarious thrill of “sharing” their pregnancy with the most watched pregnant woman in the world is kicked up a notch; call this the “twinning” syndrome, suggests Susan Shapiro Barash, a professor of gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. “If you’re as sick as she is, you will feel soothed knowing she felt like that too,” says Barash. “However she looks, however she dresses, however much weight she gains, women will want to do that.”

This won’t be the first time Middleton’s weight has taken center stage. Three months before her pregnancy became public, Katie Couric was quoted as saying the princess “needs to eat more because she’s too thin.” Last year, she was heralded on pro-anorexia websites for her slight frame, a dubious honor that undoubtedly unsettled the royal family, which had to contend with Princess Diana’s bulimia.

With the emphasis on weight in our culture, some pregnant women recoil as they gain weight instead of marveling at the wonders of the female anatomy. Pregorexia is the term coined to describe women who battle eating disorders while pregnant.  According to a statement from the National Eating Disorders Association, “some women with disordered eating are able to more easily cope with weight gain during pregnancy because they see it as a sacrifice for an important cause. But others may plunge into deep depression as they struggle with the tension between the idea of weight gain and their body image issues.”

(MORE: Why a Pregnant Kate Middleton is in the Hospital)

Eating disorders aside, blogs have been bursting with curiosity about whether Middleton is “too thin to conceive”  and “too thin to bear an heir.”

The answer, according to Dr. George Macones, who chairs the committee on obstetric practice for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is no. A woman who is malnourished or a competitive athlete who has stopped ovulating can have trouble getting pregnant. Likewise, a malnourished pregnant women can be at increased risk of delivering early. But Middleton is neither malnourished nor an Ironwoman competitor. “For the most part, people who are thin do very well during pregnancy,” says Macones, who is also chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St Louis.

They have similar pregnancy outcomes as women of normal weight, and they have better outcomes than very overweight women, who are at higher risk of diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and C-sections.

It remains to be seen whether Middleton will pack on the 25 to 35 pounds recommended for a healthy pregnancy. What’s certain is that women who are pregnant — and those who are not — will be paying close attention to every inch of her expanding belly. Nor is she the only pregnant celebrity who has been the subject of Internet chatter about weight. E! News host Giuliana Rancic endured speculation that she was too thin to carry a child. And actress and singer Jessica Simpson was called an “absolute porker” by an obstetrician who was not caring for her as she gained weight while expecting. Earlier this year, Healthland wrote:

If there’s a single truth in the glut of commentary that Jezebel is referring to as “the hunger shames,” it’s that Simpson’s weight is her business. “Nine months on, nine months off” is the slogan pregnant women often hear about how long it will take them to slough the baby weight. In truth, Simpson will likely drop her excess pounds much quicker — if she cares to.

The snide judgments about appearances — be they about Simpson’s ample curves or Middleton’s stick figure — is hardly unexpected, says Barash. “Women have been raised to constantly compare and contrast ourselves to other women,” says Barash. “Whatever Kate does will be imitated and valued. She will become a gold standard.”

Pregnant onlookers can take solace in Macones’ assurance that pregnant woman can rely on healthy eating and regular exercise to reclaim their pre-pregnancy body after delivering — assuming, of course, that new moms have the time to whip up wholesome meals and resume their gym rat ways. Research shows that moms’ dissatisfaction with their bodies increases with every month post-partum, but it’s possible, with hard work, to “get back to the same shape essentially that you were in before conception,” says Macones.

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25 comments
mrbomb13
mrbomb13

1) "Three months before her pregnancy became public, Katie Couric was quoted as saying the princess “needs to eat more because she’s too thin.” Last year, she was heralded on pro-anorexia websites for her slight frame, a dubious honor that undoubtedly unsettled the royal family, which had to contend with Princess Diana’s bulimia."

...since when did Katie Couric and random bloggers become expert medical professionals (Mandatory Caveat:  Some of the bloggers may have indeed been doctors, but the author does not specify)??  Honestly, for a medical issue, their layman 'diagnosis' is fully irrelevant.  Additionally, such layman speculation is misleading to readers, because it generates the notion that they have authority in the field (when they do not).

2) "Eating disorders aside, blogs have been bursting with curiosity about whether Middleton is “too thin to conceive”  and “too thin to bear an heir.”"  Umm, any evidence (i.e. medical testimony) to substantiate the bloggers' curiosity??  Again, seemingly aimless speculation, especially since the author devotes the immediate next paragraph to Dr. George Macones' response (which puts the bloggers' claim to rest).

3) Given Kate's status as a royal, I really doubt any and all claims of malnourishment, etc..  I'm sure that she is receiving top-of-the-line service with meals, medical care, and (if needed) consulting.

Sooo....TIME Magazine, what was the point of publishing this article?



CarolA.Dudeck
CarolA.Dudeck

I disagree completely with hill.jo that if a woman is not in DECENT physical condition and weight during pregnancy, they can have MAJOR problems.  Kate is in good physical condition but way TOO thin, she looks completely anorexic.  She was using the Dukan Diet for quite awhile before she married William to lose MORE weight.  Why when she was too thin to start with.  Now if she is possibly carrying twins, she needs some major weight on her body. 

hill.jo
hill.jo

Shame on Bonnie solely for the title and entertainment of this idea; women of ALL shapes and sizes can make excellent mothers. If you can get pregnant, you can carry the baby you conceive. Psshaw.

moodygirl
moodygirl

Have we learned nothing from the deaths of Diana and now the innocent victim of more of this obsessive royal-prying? Leave the subject alone, leave the royals alone, and get a life!

janrangel
janrangel

How useless  is this article? 

wshanck
wshanck

Isn't she less than 3 months pregnant?  How many pregnant people show at less than 3 months?

FranKramer
FranKramer

I agree with susiegigi..... Just leave her alone!! She is beautiful- tall, svelte and athletic. Her height will allow plenty of room for the expanding uterus and even if she gains 35#, I think she will still look "lean". People just like to criticize others ...especially those they are envious of ;)

NjMellie77
NjMellie77

Umm, obviously not, because she IS pregnant. This is a stupid article.

adulperson
adulperson

No she is not! I was smaller then she when I had my first child and had no problem. I know this had to be man asking such question and that child that I had grew to be 6ft 8 and good health infact I was so small no one knew I was pregnant

Christianne
Christianne

This whole article is ludicrous. Leave the poor woman alone: She is slim; she's always been slim; she has a life to live and a royal schedule to uphold.  And, now she is pregnant, the most special time of her life.  Don't make it also the most dreaded, by the conjecture, the rumors and flat-out "gossip hounding" that she does not at all deserve.

pjhnsn8
pjhnsn8

Dumb article, pregnancy is a natural event and fat or thin women become pregnant. Don't start giving her diseases she doesn't have. Morning sickness is a part of the 1st trimester. Let her just have her baby in peace.

SVjeunefille
SVjeunefille

Katie Couric was spot-on about that other Kate's weight — especially in regard to pregnancy.  Duchess Kate appears to be larger-boned (just look at her face), that is, not delicately constructed; she needs more meat on the bones to be healthy.  And she shouldn't jeopardize her yet unborn by trying to look like a Vogue model — that's ridiculous.  A modern Duchess, in line to be Queen one day, should have more smarts and common sense than that.  Let yourself have a helping of Yorkshire pudding with gravy, and scones with Devon cream, Kate; your children will thank you for the nutritious ancestral fare!

susiegigi
susiegigi

Oh here we go with criticizing everything related to the royal baby.  Leave her alone - please.

BellaSpruce
BellaSpruce

What a stupid question! Of course she's not too thin to be pregnant. She's obviously healthy and athletic, just a naturally  lean person. As a midwife I never had any problems with mothers with her physique. She'll be fine.

TimDev
TimDev

Thats like saying "You cant drive without a license...". YES you can! And too thin to be pregnant? Obviously not, she's PREGNANT!! Bonnie prob blew up like a Macy's Day Parade balloon....just jealous.

erin.maureen.walsh
erin.maureen.walsh

Give the lady (ladies) a break. I just got done being pregnant and it sucks to have people looking at you and trying to figure out ways you are already failing as a mom. Good grief. Unlike Simpson, she has done nothing to invite the focus on her body except get married and be an absolute joy to watch. I hope she feels better soon. 

numbmum
numbmum

If she truly has HG, she will do nothing but lose weight for the next month or two. I lost 15 pounds in a month when I had HG and anytime anyone asked how they could help, I asked for a gun to put me out of my misery. I wish her well. HG is hell.