First-time parents usually have plenty of questions and concerns as they prepare to bring a child into the world. Family members also often fawn over the "baby bump" and speculate on names and physical features.
Soon-to-be parents Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are facing the same questions and speculation — except it's not just loved ones who are participating.
It is not uncommon for the world's attention to be turned to the royal family during the runup to the birth of a future monarch.
Such was the case when William was born to Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Lady Diana Spencer, unlike Kate, had grown up experiencing media pressures, yet it was well known how she felt about her life in the spotlight — even before the age of Facebook and Twitter.
"The whole world is watching my stomach," Diana said during her pregnancy with William.
While Kate hasn't made such a statement, the same fascination with the coming royal baby clearly exists. This week many media outlets have predicted not just his or her looks but they have even considered the economic growth the birth may generate in Great Britain.
Others have taken to placing bets on anything from features to which parent will be holding the child when they make their first appearance. A royal family tree can be viewed online, and the royal child already has a Wikipedia page.
Dr. Anand Saggar, a consultant in the South West Thames Regional Genetics Department at St. George's Hospital Medical School, says Kate's roots may help the future king or queen, introducing new genes into the small royal gene pool.
Her genes could also lead to a slightly darker-skinned baby among the fairer royals, Saggar said. "The odds are the child will have darker skin color than the royals might be used to."
As for hair color, Saggar explained to CNN there are likely four options: "light like Dad, dark like Mom, a shade in between the two or red like the baby's Uncle Harry."
While the odds of the royal baby having red hair is a slim 6 percent, the chance the child will be tall is rather high. With William around 6 foot 3 inches, and Kate about 5 feet 10 inches, it is likely that the child will follow in his or her parents' footsteps.
According to Barry Starr, director of The Tech at Stanford School of Medicine, a son would likely be between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 7 inches, and a daughter between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet 2 inches.
Beyond physical speculations, others have began to guess at the royal name, date of birth, time of birth and even the weight and length of the new royal.
As far as the name, royal author Andrew Roberts expressed that more than one guess may end up correct.
"Although we can't know what the child's name will be, we can be sure that he or she will have a lot of them," Roberts said. "Some heirs to the throne (have) had as many as seven or eight."
But the British bookies aren't alone when it comes to gaining money from the royal birth. It has been estimated that Britons alone will spend nearly $400 million on royal baby memorabilia and celebrations, according to the London-based Centre for Retail Research.
Royal baby bibs, booties, mugs, cookies and much more have already hit shops in the U.K. Several companies have also joined the royal baby fascination. Krispy Kreme released a line of royal baby doughnuts with blue or pink filling inside, Fisher-Price has taken the opportunity to highlight its new "royal potty," and the nail care company Essie has launched new polish colors called "Baby Blue" and "Baby Girl," according to The Globe and Mail.
Speculation and economic boosts aside, Kate and William have planned some important changes in their lives for after the baby's arrival. According to USA Today, William will most likely give up his work as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force in Wales so he can spend more time with his wife and child and begin to take on more royal duties.
As for Kate, motherhood will come naturally, said Marcia Moody, a British royals reporter and author of "Kate: A Biography."
"I think she will approach motherhood like she was born to it," Moody said. "She has always been drawn to children and has an affinity with them. It was remarked by an old neighbor that (her own mom) Carole was a natural mother, and I'm sure Kate will be a similar kind of mother."
Elisabeth Cawthon, a University of Texas historian of the monarchy, says Diana's ability to ignore centuries of tradition is sure to have impacted William regarding his own participation with his family, pointing out that the late princess obviously loved her children and did not leave child rearing up to a nanny.
"Catherine seems to be a natural with children, so I think they will be a couple who would want to spend a lot of time with their kids," Cawthon said.
Cawthorn predicted that William and Kate will stand out as an exceptionally family-oriented couple.
"They both had a rounded upbringing, and they will do the same with their children. The children will not be cossetted or mollycoddled in any way," Cawthon said.
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