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Watching and Waiting for a British Baby

By the time you're reading this, the Duchess of Cambridge could be in labor. Or it could be a matter of hours. Or days. Or weeks. As Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, await the birth of their first child - and the future heir to the English throne - many inWNY and across the world are watching and waiting for anything about the heir to become apparant.


There's at least one WNY Brit watching for a baby today.

Transplanted Londoner Ben Nicholson of Tonawanda is excited about two big births this month, and for him the one in great Britain certainly resonates.

 "I was born the same year as William, we got married the same year, and we are going to have a baby the same month,"

- Ben Nicholson of Tonawanda.

He says excitement about it is only natural for him and other ex-pat Britons.

 "When Americans think of the U-K, they think about Buckingham Palace and the Royal Family so any kind of excitement is v very much felt by us Brits abroad as well as the ones at home," Nicholson says.  

"There is very much excitement when I am speaking with fiends and family at home there is very much excitement.. whether it's a boy or a girl, we are going to have a new head of state,"

 At The English Pork Pie Company on South Park Ave in Buffalo, co-owner Vickie Parker says orders have spiked slightly, with several folks getting ready for celebrations this weekend.

 "It's another thing for British ex-pats to get excited about, an excuse to have a party, get together with the friends, even American friends as well. We have seen people already getting prepared, ordering this week to have parties this weekend. Hopefully the baby is born by then," she says.

 During the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, Parker saw quite a spike in sales and interest in Britain ran high. The baby is not generating the same big increases, but is surely creating a buzz among those who come into the store.

 "People are excited and they can't wait to see if it's going to be a boy or a girl," Parker says

Some are convinced the royal due date has already passed, even though Buckingham Palace has not given an exact date. Many in the British media predicted the baby would be born last week and the prince himself is now on official leave.

Dozens of reporters have already staked out the central London hospital where Kate is expected to give birth. The palace has said only that the Duchess is due to deliver the baby in "mid-July."

AP Photo

Royal supporter John Loughrey poses with royal baby memorabilia as he waits across the street from St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Thursday, July 18, 2013.

Experts say there's no reason to think that the baby is actually overdue; due dates are at best an educated guess and come with a margin of error of two to three weeks.

"The baby will come when he or she is ready," said Janet Fyle, a midwife and professional policy adviser at Britain's Royal College of Midwives. She said the due date is calculated from the first day of the woman's last period. Then add seven days, plus nine months. "But nature is the primary determinant (of the due date) and we can't do anything to change that," Fyle said.

An ultrasound done around weeks 11 to 12 of the pregnancy can also give women a better idea of when exactly to get the nursery ready, she said. A head measurement at that point is a better indicator of age than later in pregnancy.

For healthy pregnant women, as the Duchess of Cambridge appears to be, Fyle said they shouldn't worry if they haven't given birth by their predicted due date. Many things can delay birth, including the baby's head being in the wrong spot. "It may just take the baby awhile to get into the right position before he or she is ready to come out," she said.

Normal pregnancies last about 40 weeks, though 3 to 12 percent of women in the U.K. go beyond that term. After 41 to 42 weeks, doctors may consider inducing labor. Doctors or midwives typically induce labor with medications or other methods; it may still take one to two days for contractions to start.

AP PhotoIn Britain, about 25 percent of all births are cesarean sections, versus 30 percent in the U.S. In 2011, Britain's health watchdog decided women should be able to get a C-section on demand under the free health care service, though there is no indication whether the Duchess of Cambridge has requested one in the private wing of the hospital where she is expected to deliver.

Although the Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized last December for severe morning sickness, Rajasingam said there's no reason to think she might have a more difficult labor. Pregnant women are also advised to keep as active as possible even after their due date passes.


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