Carol Hunt: Ladies, you're pregnant... so ignore the celebs and feel free to look the part

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton

thumbnail: Kate Middleton
thumbnail: Kate Middleton
Carol Hunt

horror of horrors - at five months pregnant it's still hard to guess that Kate Middleton has a bump.

Recent pictures show her clasping both hands under her (very tiny) tummy, desperately trying to give the appearance that she has a baby on board.

You may not believe this...but I know exactly how she feels.

When I was expecting my first child a friend asked did I know any pregnant women who would be available for a fashion shoot. There was no fee but they would get to keep the fabulous maternity wear that they wore.

This was at a time when there were no maternity clothes to be had for love nor money in Dublin - bar a very expensive boutique off Grafton Street.


"Hello," I said pointing to my tummy. "I'm here, five months pregnant with the morning sickness, indigestion and sleepless nights to prove it."

"Ah, but you don't look pregnant," she said sadly. "So, you're no use. What we need is a nice, slimmish person with a discernible bump." I was not amused.

Because you see, here is where Ms Middleton and I diverge. Where she is - to some eyes - still worryingly thin, I looked as if I had spent the past five months discovering a passion for plates of pasta and the wardrobe of Pavarotti. The reason my bump was still unseen was because my bust had swelled to a size that would make Dolly Parton blush. Instead of just my belly growing, my entire body had decided to expand in sympathy.

Which was fine. I was pregnant and not meant to be competing in a lovely girl competition - with or without a bump.

Which brings me back to the lovely Kate. She is a healthy, albeit slender, pregnant woman with an army of doctors and dietitians to make sure she stays at peak health.

Most of us are not so lucky, yet you would expect that the one time we can take time off aiming for a perfect figure is when we're pregnant. You'd be wrong.

A survey taken the last time Kate Middleton was pregnant showed that 71pc of women felt pressure to look slim and sexy because of the example set by celebrities.

There's even a disorder called 'pregorexia' - an obsession with controlling weight both during and after pregnancy.

A study by University College London found that one-in 14 British women (and we're not so different here in Ireland) actually has a full-blown eating disorder during early pregnancy.

Many women try to hide the fact that they are pregnant for as long as is physically possible. "You don't look pregnant" is taken as a compliment.

All this 'having to look sexy during pregnancy' pressure seemed to start when Demi Moore took off her clothes for than infamous Vanity Fair photo-shoot back in 1991.


Fast forward to 2015 and women have never faced such societal pressure to look slim and gorgeous while creating another human life within their womb.

It's bonkers. Even worse is the trend for celebrity mothers (and we know this spills over into 'normal people') to book a caesarian section when they reach eight months because they want one before those nine-month stretch marks set in.

This has now been dubbed 'the cosmetic caesarian'. Jesus wept.

Of course, I'm not recommending that we eat all around us during pregnancy. We know now that the old advice about 'eating for two' just leads to unnecessary weight gain that can be impossible to shift after the birth.

But there is a happy medium. Pregnant women would be advised to 'have their cake and eat it' while they have the chance.