Have you heard? Kate Middleton is probably maybe definitely pregnant. There’s no baby bump to prove it (although she was touching her midsection at a recent event, you guys), but there are several reasons the tabloids think she’s with child, and chief among them is “pregnancy face,” a not-so-clinical term meaning that her face looks round, which is a not-clinical-at-all way of determining whether a woman is pregnant.
The Daily Beast cites pregnancy face as reason #2 (of 11) that Kate Middleton is probably pregnant:
2. The fuller face. No-one has claimed Kate is actually showing a baby bump yet, but there is a definite hint of ‘preg-face’ as it is customarily known on these shores creeping into the royal visage. Kate looks a little bit rounder, and it’s not just the new fringe playing tricks on the eye.
But Entertainment Weekly was on it first:
There’s Something, Shall We Say, DIfferent About Kate Middleton: Yes, the hair, but no, not the hair. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Kate’s banging new ‘do has brought a surge of new photos and close inspections of Kate’s mane. And, it follows, face. And, it still follows, face shape. Which is undeniably rather different from her usual superslim visage. True, it’s the holiday season and who among us doesn’t indulge a bit more than usual, but when someone known for their preternatural narrowness starts showing signs of being, well, not quite so narrow as before…color us suspicious. Besides, there’s no distraction technique quite like drawing attention away from one body part (say, her stomach) with another (like that new hairstyle).
There are a few obvious problems here–the first being that, as far as we understand it, pregnancy makes you face look fatter because you yourself are getting fatter–something that doesn’t seem to be happening in Kate Middleton’s case. But the biggest one is probably just that her face didn’t really change.
Yes, there are some good side-by-sides that make her face look rounder, fuller, puffier, fatter–whatever you want to call it–in recent photos than it did in the past. I don’t know about you, but my face shape changes in just about every photo ever taken of me–you can chalk it up to everything from camera angles, instagram filters, and yes, possibly some post-Thanksgiving water retention. But I can assure you: It’s not because I’m in my first trimester.
Kate Middleton’s face and reproductive system aside, it’s also debatable whether ‘pregnancy face” is really a thing. Many women claim that pregnancy does, in fact, change their faces, but a quick google search makes it pretty clear that the swelling tends to come and go with weight gain (not before).
New York City dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas told Stylelist that fluid retention can also be responsible for a puffy face during the last few months of pregnancy:
“It appears to be more prominent with female fetuses, possibly due to the added estrogen load,” she says. She promises that it’s normal, and the swelling will decrease right after delivery; you can expect to look like your normal, non-puffy self in a few months, so she suggests not making any cosmetic surgery decisions until sometime after the kid’s first birthday.
Kate, are you listening? Don’t run out and get liposuction just yet.
This isn’t the first time tabloids have zoomed in on Kate’s face to diagnose her changing body. Last year, they were obsessed with comparing photos to prove that she’d lost too much weight for the Royal wedding (because it’s highly unusual for a woman’s face to slim down in her twenties). It was ridiculous then, and it’s ridiculous now, so just in case the tabloids got you panicked about adding “pregnancy face” to the list of reasons to fear pregnancy, don’t worry: It’s not a thing.
UPDATE: Kate Middleton is officially pregnant, as per a royal announcement. (But pregnancy face is still not a thing.)
Photo: Optic Photos, PacificCoastNews.com