The news that Kate Middleton is expecting her third child may have the public squealing with delight, but many of us are also a bit concerned for her and baby’s wellbeing. As with her two prior pregnancies, the Duchess of Cambridge has Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a condition that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration.
Between 0.5 percent and three percent of pregnant women suffer from HG, says Sara Twogood, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Keck Medicine of USC.
What does that percentage looks like in terms of actual cases? Dr. Marlena Schoenberg Fejzo, associate faculty researcher at UCLA and USC says “a very rough estimate would be about 100,000 women per year suffer from HG in the US annually.”
Fejzo adds that HG accounts for over 167,000 ER visits per year.
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Condition With ‘No Strict Definition’
- The Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum — And The Misconceptions
- With All the TMI That Comes With Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Support Groups Help
- Amy Schumer Has Revealed She Shares This Pregnancy Condition With Kate Middleton
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting baby No. 3
- Prince George arrives for his first day of school
- I Had the Same Disease as Kate Middleton and It Was Brutal
- Kate Middleton Is Pregnant And Suffering From Hyperemesis Gravidarum Again
- I Have Hyperemesis Like Kate Middleton—Here’s What It’s Really Like
- Lessons From Kate Middleton’s Pregnancies: 6 Ways to Fight Morning Sickness
- What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
- What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum?
- What is the treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum: A Condition With ‘No Strict Definition’
That this condition doesn’t have a precise number of diagnoses to reference it is part of a bigger problem: HG runs on a spectrum, with no distinct definition.
If you have a sister who has hyperemesis gravidarum you have a 17-fold increase risk of having it.
“Different clinicians use different criteria to meet the definition of ,” says Twogood. “There’s really no strict definition.”
Some women may have HG and not know it, which makes sense given that two of its key symptoms (nausea and vomiting) are often seen in normal pregnancies. Women may not know that what they’re experiencing isn’t just what to expect when they’re expecting.
“Twenty-five percent of pregnant women will have nausea and 50 percent of pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting,” Twogood says of normal pregnancies, adding that even clinicians can overlook HG.
Jenn Morson Frederick, a 41-year-old writer in Washington, D.C, currently pregnant with her fifth child (and, ugh, experiencing HG for the fifth time), initially brushed off HG as being par for the course.
“With my first, I was about 5.5 weeks pregnant . I had lunch at my in-laws, promptly threw up and figured it was morning sickness,” said Morson Frederick. “Then I couldn’t keep anything down: no crackers, no water, no ginger ale — nothing. I ended up going to the ER.”
She went three more times before meeting with an OB/GYN who properly diagnosed her.
The Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum — And The Misconceptions
A clear definition of HG may be lacking, and cases could slip under the medical radar, but both Twogood and Fejzo underscore that HG has clear symptoms including severe nausea, persistent vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.
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“If you lose five percent of your pre-pregnancy body weight weight or more it is considered HG,” said Fejzo. “This is usually accompanied with an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.”
There is no cure for hyperemesis gravidarum because nobody knows what exactly causes it.
“I am a geneticist by training and this is what I’ve been working on,” says Fejzo. “We know it runs in families, and that if you have a sister who has had it you have a 17-fold increase risk of having it.”
Also, if you’ve had it before, you will likely experience it in future pregnancies.
Why aren’t there more answers? For one thing, HG wasn’t taken seriously as a medical problem until recently. It was either shrugged off as a bad case of morning sickness (evidently, it still can be), or was dismissed as a purely psychological problem.
“There have been theories that this is something psychological a woman’s inability to cope with the stress of being pregnant,” says Twogood. “This is a dangerous dismissal.”
Indeed it is, as HG can actually be fatal (tragic trivia: it has been speculated that Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte died from HG-related complications).
“Deaths from HG are hard to track because usually the cause of death is something secondary to HG, such as a heart attack, stroke or Wernicke’s encephalopathy, which is caused by a vitamin B1 deficiency, so their death reports don’t necessarily list HG,” says Fejzo.
While there is no cure for HG, there are ways of treating it. You absolutely have to consult a doctor, and what works for one sufferer may not work for another, but medications such as Dicleges, Phernegan, Ondansetron, and Reglan are among those that Twogood and Fejzo say are used to manage HG symptoms.
With All the TMI That Comes With Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Support Groups Help
Even with treatment, HG can completely wipe you out and alienate you from your family and routine, making it not only a physical hardship, but an emotional one, too. Fejzo notes that those with HG often have to sleep in separate rooms from their partners (the sheer smell of another person can be gag-worthy), and just being in the kitchen (let alone cooking) can be unbearable, also because of the smells.
After going through HG with my first, I never imagined I’d have anymore babies — it scared me so much.
“To this day, I can’t stand the faintest trace of ginger, as it reminds me of the tea, ale, gum, drops, candy, (even soap) that well-meaning friends offered me,” says Shara Lessley, a writer and mother of two living in Oxford, England who was diagnosed with HG during her second pregnancy a few years ago. “If my husband rolled over during his sleep or even adjusted a blanket, I felt like a Dory in plunging waves. A fire alarm went off so loud I rushed from the building and into the street to be sick.”
TMI? That’s one of the joys of HG.
“It’s very difficult to discuss without being graphic and, frankly, over-sharing,” adds Lessley.
Fortunately, there are no shortage of women who will gladly listen to you and chime in with their own stories in various support groups — an optional part of treatment that both Twogood and Fejzo stress is crucial.
Tasha Crabb, a 29-year-old mother of two (with a third on the way, and alas, a third case of HG) launched the Hyperemesis Gravidarum Support Group on Facebook two years ago. The bonds she has built within the group have helped her through her subsequent pregnancies.
“After going through HG with my first, I never imagined I’d have anymore babies — it scared me so much,” says Crabb. “ when I started seeing and hearing about moms with HG at their wit’s end, I knew I had to try and do something, even if it meant just trying to help one mom out there; I wanted to get the word out on HG and let moms know they are not alone.”
Crabb says the group is always open to new women with HG, and can be regarded as a “safe haven where HG moms can vent without judgment, and get advice on how to try and manage their HG.”
The more support the better, which is partly why UCLA has partnered with the HER Foundation (a network of HG survivors and an HG information site) to develop a new app called HG Care, which, still in beta testing (and seeking the input of HG sufferers), could become a techy tool for women with HG, enabling them to track their symptoms, access info, get alerts, make charts, and find support.
“Everybody needs support,” says Fenzo. “I’ve had grandmothers of women with HG reach out to me for support.”
HG isn’t a walk in the park for anybody, but it’s also something that most women can manage with the right treatment and a solid support system. And while it may feel like forever, it does end.
“It sucks, but there’s an expiration date,” says Morson Frederick. “You can do this. Ask for help, advocate for yourself to your doctor and don’t be afraid to get a different doctor if yours isn’t supportive or knowledgeable.”
Amy Schumer might be so obsessed with the Royal Family that she announced her pregnancy with a photoshopped picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but she is undoubtedly less happy about one commonality she shares with the Duchess of Cambridge.
The comedian has revealed that she is suffering fromHyperemesis Gravidarum, the samepregnancy illness Kate Middletonhas endured through all three of her pregnancies.
Opening up about the condition on Instagram, Amy posted a picture of her lying in hospital saying ‘Baby’s fine but everyone who says the 2nd trimester is better is not telling the full story’ before stating that she has hyperemesis and ‘it blows’. ‘Very lucky to be pregnant but this is some bullshit,’ Amy wrote, ‘Sending so much love to the doctors and nurses taking great care of me and Tati!’
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a pregnancy complication that can cause severe nausea, vomiting, weight-loss and possible dehydration. Kate Middleton is known to suffer terribly with the illness, and was hospitalised as a result of it when she was pregnant with Prince George. It affects around 3% of pregnant women, however statistics are not thought to be concrete as the condition often goes unreported.
While it’s not known what causes the illness, it can be linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy and there is some evidence that it runs in families, with the NHS advising patients plan in advance if one of your immediate family members has suffered with it. This means starting treatment early as it can take time to find the right medication, with options ranging from anti-sickness tablets to certain vitamins and steroids, or a combination of these. However, it’s important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.
For Amy, the condition meant she has to cancel a show in Texas, saying ‘I’ll be out there as soon as I’m better’. She has previously suffered with morning sickness throughout her first trimester, but says it has only gotten worse as her pregnancy has continued.
‘Texas I am so deeply sorry,’ her Instagram caption read, ‘I have been really looking forward to these shows. I have to reschedule. I am in the hospital. I’m fine. Baby’s fine but everyone who says the 2nd trimester is better is not telling the full story. I’ve been even more ill this trimester. I have hyperemesis and it blows. Very lucky to be pregnant but this is some bullshit! Sending so much love to the doctors and nurses taking great care of me and Tati! They are cool as hell! And Texas I am really really sorry and I’ll be out there as soon as I’m better.’
Of course, comedian that she is, Amy forever sees the light in every situation and continues to make memes out of her misery, posting this to Instagram during her first three months of pregnancy.
Honestly, that image is just us every Friday lunchtime knowing there’s another four hours left till the weekend begins…
Prince William commiserated about the effects of hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe type of morning sickness, while speaking with 98-year-old Iris Orrell, who also suffered from the brutal pregnancy illness that Duchess Kate is currently experiencing.
Duchess Kate is combating the condition, which plagued the early stages of her two previous pregnancies. She got so sick during her first, while carrying now-4-year-old Prince George, that she ended up in the hospital for treatment.
Prince William suggested in a conversation with a well-wisher that his wife, Duchess Kate, may be feeling worse with this pregnancy than her previous two.AFP – Getty Images
Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG for short, isn’t your typical morning sickness. It’s marked by severe vomiting (think every 10 minutes for 40 weeks), nausea, weight loss and eletcrolyte imbalances.
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Prince William told Orrell that his wife had tried to ease her symptoms with ginger, a home remedy well-known to pregnant mothers for easing upset stomachs.
“Ginger biscuits — but there’s not much ginger can do to stop that. We’ve done all that,” Prince William said.
He and Orwell spoke while Prince William attended an awards ceremony and reception celebrating the Metropolitan and City Police Orphans Fund, which he supports as a patron.
We apologize, this video has expired.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting baby No. 3
Sept. 4, 201702:24
The prince dropped a hint at how severe hyperemesis gravidarum may be affecting his wife this time around when he asked Orwell, a mother of three: “Did it get worse with each one?”
She replied that it did, and said her doctor advised her to try “dry biscuits.”
Prince William met with Iris Orrell, 98, at a London charity reception. Orrell suffered from the same pregnancy-related condition as the prince’s wife, Duchess Kate, is experiencing.AP
Kensington Palace announced the pregnancy of the duchess earlier this month after illness forced the former Kate Middleton to cancel several public events she had been scheduled to attend.
It also forced her to miss Prince George’s first day of school just days later on Sept. 7.
Orwell said she wished Duchess Kate well.
“She is feeling better, thank you,” Prince William replied.
Prince George arrives for his first day of school
Sept. 7, 201700:27
I Had the Same Disease as Kate Middleton and It Was Brutal
The day I woke up at about six months pregnant, so dizzy that I fell with my child in my arms, was the first and thankfully only time I had to go to the hospital for an intravenous injection of fluids. My partner was at work, so I tearfully reached for my phone and called my dad to come get me.
My emotional state matched my physical one. I used to shudder with anxiety at bedtime because I knew what was coming to me in the middle of the night. I was embarrassed because despite how badly I felt, I couldn’t explain the gravity of it to co-workers and family. I worried they thought I was just a wimp. The worst emotional side effect was the heartbreak I felt when, in my weakened state, I couldn’t be as engaged as I wanted to be with my son. When I wasn’t able to respond to him because of the laryngitis, he looked frightened. I cried and held him.
You would think that if someone famous like Kate Middleton (or myself) had a serious, incurable illness, scientists would try to find out more about it. There have been a few studies here and there, but none strong enough to draw any conclusions about HG’s causes or a possible cure. One thing we do know is that HG has a tendency to get worse with each subsequent pregnancy, which is why I won’t be having a third baby.
While reading about HG, I was reminded that, historically, women’s health research has lagged behind studies geared toward the health needs of men, and HG is no different. But the lack of scientific knowledge is not the only obstacle to helping sufferers. In order to get people to see HG research as a priority, we need to understand women’s experiences. The real story of what HG does to a woman is not the scant description provided on its Wiki. We need to hear about all the gritty, unglamorous details.
The irony is that even a fucking Duchess cannot use her status to raise awareness about HG because the sloppy disease is so off-brand. I guess that is the one thing that gives me a bit of power to tell my story: I, being an already gross regular person, have a lot less to lose.
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Kate Middleton Is Pregnant And Suffering From Hyperemesis Gravidarum Again
No, you don’t need to be royalty to have hyperemesis gravidarum but your family may affect whether you get it. The 35-year old Kate Middleton, who is otherwise known as the Duchess of Cambridge, just announced that she is pregnant for the third time. She is probably somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks pregnant depending on what tabloid you read. Also, for the third straight pregnancy, she is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which during her first pregnancy was severe enough to land her in the hospital.
To understand what hyperemesis gravidarum is, let’s break down the name into its parts. “Hyper” means a lot or severe just like hyperactive means you are really, really overly active. “Emesis” means vomiting, which means technically you can say “I drank far to much so now comes some emesis.” Gravid is a term for pregnant, frequently used in medical settings but rarely in social situations (you don’t commonly say, “hooray, I’m gravid”, “did you hear that she was gravid” or “are you gravid”). Combined the word means severe vomiting during pregnancy or very bad morning sickness.
Roughly 0.5% of all pregnancies in the U.S. result in hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is not your typical morning sickness. The vomiting is so frequent (usually more than 3-4 times a day) and severe that it can leave you dehydrated, deficient in important nutrients, and unable to maintain a healthy weight (losing more than 10 pounds). As with most cases of bad nausea and vomiting, the key is staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and well-nourished by eating small and frequent meals. If you aren’t able to do this at home, you may need to visit a hospital to receive anti-nausea medications, intravenous fluids, and perhaps even feeding through a tube or an intravenous line. Over 59,000 pregnant women in the U.S. require hospitalization each year for hyperemesis gravidarum.
Here is an NBC Nightly News segment on the royal announcements:
If you do experience such unpleasant symptoms, can you blame your family? Before you say, yes, your family does make you nauseous and vomit, it’s not what your family says or does that may lead to this condition. As the Cleveland Clinic website explains, a potential culprit may be the rapidly rising levels of hormones such as HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and estrogen in your blood during pregnancy. However, the exact causes of hyperemesis gravidarum remain unclear, even though scientific studies have identified some possible risk factors (e.g., having had the condition in an earlier pregnancy, being overweight, carrying twins, triplets or more, or being pregnant for the first-time),
No, you may be able to point your finger at your family members because some evidence suggests that such severe morning sickness may run in families. A study from Norway published in the BMJ in 2010 found that women whose mothers suffered hyperemesis gravidarum were three times more likely to have the same problem during pregnancy, based on data from Norway’s national birth registry. Of course, such results don’t necessarily prove that this condition is inherited. But they are consistent with the findings from a study published two years earlier in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology that analyzed the family histories of 1224 self-reported cases of hyperemesis gravidarum. Among these cases, 28% of the women had mothers who had experienced hyperemsis gravidarium. For those who had sisters who had been pregnant, 19% of their sisters suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum.
Besides not getting pregnant, is there anything that you can do to prevent the condition? Some have claimed that consuming Vitamin B6 supplements, zinc, or ginger, undergoing accupressure, or wearing pressure point wrist bands help. However, a recent Cochrane systematic review of existing scientific studies concluded that not enough quality scientific studies have been conducted to draw any strong conclusions. Other strategies are eating small and frequent meals of blander food and avoiding any food or medication that may cause nausea. Of course, when experiencing severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, don’t assume that it is hyperemesis gravidarum. Check with your doctor to rule out other possible causes such as food poisoning, infections, gallbladder disease, and pancreatitis.
Morning sickness tends to occur between the 6th and 14th weeks of pregnancy, although some continue to have symptoms until delivery. Additionally, morning sickness is often not confined to the morning. It is actually frequently “morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and really late at night sickness.” In fact, sickness may be a misnomer too, as a systematic review in Reproductive Toxicology determined that experiencing “morning sickness” may be associated with better pregnancy outcomes such as lower rates of miscarriages, birth defects, and premature births.
While the Duchess suffers through the symptoms, bookmakers have been accepting numerous bets on the child’s gender, birth date, and name. As Kate Samuelson reported for Time, there are equal bets on the child being male versus female, but Alice is the current name leader (8/1 odds) over Elizabeth (10/1 odds), James (12/1 odds), and Arthur (12/1 odds). While some are interpreting the bets on names as more people wanting or expecting a girl, keep in mind that Alice Cooper is male. Samuelson adds, without explaining the reason, that the odds of Donald as the name are 50/1. No word on where Barack or George W. rank on the list.
“The truth is the Duchess of Cambridge gets very seasick and doesn’t enjoy the rocking motion of carriages,” a royal source told the Sunday Mirror.
The Queen has even reportedly suggested medication to Kate Middleton, however the recommended medication can cause drowsiness.
According to the source, Kate was concerned about her sickness for Trooping the Colour.
“Protocol meant she had no choice but to go by state carriage.”
This isn’t the first time the Royals have discussed the problem of motion sickness.
In 2018, the Queen described the mandatory carriage ride for her 1953 Coronation as “horrible.”
The two-hour journey involved riding in a 200 year old, 24ft, four tonne carriage being pulled by eight horses.
Buckingham Palace was “unable to comment” on Kate’s seasickness.
In other recent news, a shocking report from England has claimed that Prince William is forced to sacrifice family time due to his many responsibilities to the crown.
Back in April, the Duke of Cambridge had to miss Prince Louis first birthday to go and fulfil his royal obligations in Christchurch, New Zealand after the terror attacks at Al Noor Mosque.
Along with the announcement that Britain’s Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child, the couple revealed that for the third time — as with her previous two pregnancies — the former Kate Middleton is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is estimated to affect about one to three percent of pregnant women and can result in nausea and vomiting so acute that hospitalization is required. It is thought to be caused by pregnancy hormones, but doctors aren’t sure why some women experience worse symptoms than others.
The condition usually begins in the early weeks of pregnancy and in many cases, subsides by about 20 weeks. But for some women, the effects may persist until the baby is born.
The condition can be “absolutely devastating,” said Dr. Roger Gadsby of Warwick University, who has studied the issue for decades. “Your life is on hold while the symptoms are present,” he said, noting that some pregnant women may vomit dozens of times per day and be restricted to bed rest.
Prince William and Kate’s royal family 85 photos
Kensington Palace made the pregnancy announcement Monday, saying the duchess was not feeling well enough to attend an official engagement later in the day. Kate is being cared for at her Kensington Palace home in London. Officials did not announce when the baby is due, but the duchess is believed to be less than 12 weeks pregnant.
She and Prince William already have two children: Prince George, 4 and Princess Charlotte, 2.
At a public appearance in Oxford on Tuesday, William said the royal couple is happily anticipating baby No. 3.
“It’s very good news,” he said, adding, “It’s always a bit anxious to start with, but yeah she’s very good.”
In 2012, Kate was hospitalized for several days when she was believed to be suffering from dehydration during her first pregnancy.
“People can get dehydrated very quickly so might need to come in after a day or two,” Dr. Jeff Chapa, head of the section of maternal fetal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, explained to CBS News at the time.
Chapa said virtually all pregnant women experience some degree of morning sickness during the first three months of pregnancy, which is caused by the release of HCG hormone from the placenta. But if a woman can’t keep anything down down and feels particularly weak, those are signs that she may need to get evaluated by a doctor for hyperemesis gravidarum.
New study may help expectant moms feel better about morning sickness
There is no evidence that the nausea and vomiting from severe morning sickness will affect the baby’s future health. Women with the condition actually have a slightly lower risk of miscarriage, according to Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
In severe cases, however, babies can be born with lower than expected birthweight. Women with the condition are advised to eat small meals often, to avoid any foods or smells that trigger symptoms and to consult their midwife or doctor if their symptoms do not subside.
If treatment requires hospitalization, women are typically given vitamins, steroids and anti-nausea drugs intravenously. Patients are also sometimes treated with shots of heparin, to thin their blood: pregnant women are at increased risk of developing blood clots in their legs, and being dehydrated further elevates the risk.
Gadsby said he would expect doctors to be able to treat the duchess at Kensington Palace and that there shouldn’t be any lasting effects. She would likely have to cut back on her royal schedule, though.
“As long as the mom receives adequate treatment, the mom is usually fine and the baby is fine,” he said.
The Duchess of Cambridge just have birth to a boy! We can’t wait to see Kate and Will’s new bundle of joy, but let’s remember: like with her other pregnancies, this one wasn’t easy.
It was announced in September of last year that the Duchess of Cambridge was suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) during her third pregnancy. The severe vomiting and constant nausea associated with HG often leads to dehydration and food aversion. The sight, smell or even thought of food can cause such a severe reaction that women with the condition can lose 5% or more of their pre-pregnancy weight.
While doctors haven’t determined the exact cause of HG, many scientists believe that a rise of hormone levels during the first trimester may trigger the extreme nausea. Most women with the disease see their worst symptoms subside after the thirteenth week of pregnancy, but about 20% will suffer until the baby arrives. In addition to bed rest and a bland diet, treatment options include homeopathic remedies like ginger or acupressure, but the most severe cases require hospitalization, IV fluids and feeding tubes.
The Duchess did spend three days in the hospital while pregnant with Prince George, but thankfully stayed well enough during her second pregnancy to avoid a repeat visit. Just like in Kate’s case, having HG once often means you’ll have it again. It’s also known to run in families.
Unfortunately for Pippa, sisters of HG sufferers are 17 times more likely to develop the disease, according to genetic research. But again, for most women (emphasis on most), hyperemesis gravidarum ends within the first trimester.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince William and Prince George of Cambridge arrive in Warsaw during an official visit to Poland and Germany on July 17, 2017. Samir HusseinGetty Images Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.
So, it would seem the whole world knows about hyperemesis gravidarum now it is a royal problem too. Earlier this month Kate Middleton was forced to cancel her visit to Malta, her first solo royal tour, because, due to her second pregnancy, she is again suffering from the condition. For those of you who haven’t been briefed yet: no, it is not just “morning sickness” and no, “drinking flat coke or eating a ginger biscuit” won’t make it stop.
Quite frankly, the comparison of hyperemesis to morning sickness is like breaking your arm in several places and then being told you’ve just knocked your funny bone. Hopefully, this increased media attention will help the poor expectant mums, who like me, were wiped out by the condition.
Most sufferers face a barrage of people who cock their head, give a sympathetic look and ask: “So is it morning sickness?” I’m not sure that anyone in their right mind who was suffering from severe vomiting up to 50 times a day would react well to that question and I’m sure its not one that the Duchess of Cambridge is forced to answer.
The truth of the matter is that hyperemisis is a horrendous, gruelling, protracted condition that leaves the people who suffer from it in a horrid state. It is not just for a few days either, most people experience it for 15 weeks during their pregnancy, others even longer. This severe form of nausea (not morning sickness) affects around 0.3 to 1.5 per cent of pregnancies. It makes it almost impossible to work and can start at three weeks in. So you often have to inform people, i.e. your boss, far earlier than you’d hoped because its impossible to conceal.
I have struggled with it twice in the past three years. The first time I got the news I was pregnant I spent two days on a high, planning the future, crafting a pregnancy diary and watching my husband mass buying vitamins. Then the day of doom set in. I didn’t know what had happened. I went from feeling sick one evening to crying on my hands and knees 48 hours later, having constantly vomited for 14 hours.
Miriam, 9 months pregnant: at the start of her pregnancy she was so sick she was unable to leave her bed for weeks Photograph: Miriam Phillips
After a week of getting progressively worse, not feeling able to leave my bed – let alone the house – I dragged myself to the GP. Although she was sympathetic, after warning me about the dangers of anti-sickness medication on my unborn child, she advised me to go down the homeopathic route. But after a week of the same I returned, begging for medication. This is the decision many expectant mothers have to make and it comes heavily laden with guilt. Do you take something that could have side effects on the baby? (In this day and age even eating a prawn is frowned upon) Or do you try and cope and still potentially put the baby at risk – because you are not consuming the amount of nutrients or fluid the baby needs? I chose to take the tablets and it meant I could finally cope. Yes I felt guilty, but it worked.
Eight months ago I fell pregnant again and at three weeks the sickness set in. I had hoped this pregnancy would be easier but at least I knew what to expect – a small mercy. This time, the medical attitude had changed and doctors seemed far more sympathetic. I’m sure this isn’t totally because of Kate Middleton, but she certainly heightened awareness of the condition.
After two weeks of being so dehydrated that I suffered blackouts, my GP diagnosed my hyperemesis and admitted me to hospital. When you have not been able to eat or drink for so long the body starts shutting down – hence the blackouts – and the only solution is fluids and intravenous anti-sickness drugs. The sheer relief after a few hours is like nothing else. A few days later I was ready to go home, strong anti-sickness tablets in hand, which I took for 17 weeks. Finally I could get through the week, not merely counting down the hours in the day until I could sleep.
The condition is debilitating and yet I, and the other sufferers I’ve spoken to, have found responses from medical professionals mixed. One nurse suggested I should have tried a ginger biscuit instead of being admitted to hospital. So we all applauded when Doctor Jennifer Ashton appeared on TV and told the world: “This is morning sickness like a hurricane is a little bit of rain.”
Miriam and baby Dylan: despite the suffering, Miriam says the end result is more than worth it Photograph: Miriam Phillips
I Have Hyperemesis Like Kate Middleton—Here’s What It’s Really Like
I was sat on the bathroom floor, having just been sick, when a BBC news alert buzzed on my phone in my pocket: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Are Expecting Their Third Child.” ‘How the hell are you doing this for a third time, Kate?’ I thought, as I staggered back to bed.
I’m currently 31 weeks pregnant with my second child and, like the Duchess of Cambridge, have suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) during both of my pregnancies—this is actually the second time she and I have been pregnant at the same time. But, unlike Kate, I won’t be doing this a third time. The condition is just too relentless, and I am literally counting down the days until our baby is in my arms, and I can put this chapter of my life behind me.
When I first had HG back in 2013, it hit me like a train. What I thought was normal morning sickness rapidly descended into being sick 20 times a day and three admissions to the hospital for severe dehydration. Imagine a combination of food poisoning, a terrible hangover, and seasickness all at once—but for months on end rather than a couple of days—and you can start to imagine what women with HG go through.
Back then, the treatment was patchy at best. Doctors were reluctant to prescribe anything too strong, and I had to fight to be admitted to the hospital and be put on a drip. One doctor actually offered me an abortion rather than further treatment. I never spoke to that doctor again—or the one who called me Princess Jo because she thought I was copying Kate.
Image zoom Courtesy
Thanks to the high-profile royal case of HG and the amazing work of the HER Foundation in the U.S. and Pregnancy Sickness Support in the U.K., things are changing. But with little research into the cause and the unlikely scenario that a cure will ever be found, treatment is all about damage control. HG only stops when you are no longer pregnant.
News of my second diagnosis of HG was met with a varying levels of sympathy. One person commented, “It can’t be that bad if you decided to get pregnant again.”
But the reality is that preparing for a second HG pregnancy took a lot of time, financial planning, and belief that I could get through it. It’s no exaggeration that I knew I would be giving up nine months of my life to be a mother again and to give our son a sibling. With a 75-85% chance of having HG again, I knew I was doomed.
VIDEO: All About Princess Kate’s Morning Sickness: What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
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Sure enough, the sickness and nausea started at 3.5 weeks. Overnight, I went from a busy and energetic mother, juggling freelance work and looking after my son, to being bedridden with a sick bucket constantly next to me. My new GP, horrified at what I went through last time and how quickly I was deteriorating, started me on anti-sickness medication, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from being admitted to hospital at six weeks with severe dehydration. In two weeks, I had lost 8 lbs, and I was discharged from the hospital with a prescription for Ondansetron, which is normally used to prevent nausia and vomitting in chemotherapy patients.
Middleton wore a crisp Gilles coat by Max Mara for a sailing event in Portsmouth, U.K.
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Fast forward to 31 weeks, and I am relieved to have made it through the hot weather of summer. But there’s been no summer holiday for my family, as I am not well enough to travel. There have been weeks on end when I couldn’t leave the house. I’m still reliant on my anti-sickness medication, and the hospital has become my second home. I have not been able to work because what little energy I do have is saved for my son. I’m hugely reliant on, and eternally grateful for, family stepping in to help when I’ve been too ill to even make it downstairs. And when I finish writing this, I’ll be heading back to bed for a lie down and more medication.
Thanks to HG and the added bonus of gestational diabetes, I’m currently preparing for my baby to be born early. The harsh reality is that I’m simply not well enough and strong enough to get us both to the 40-week finish line. HG has done a number on me physically, and I know from my first pregnancy that I’ll spend the first few months post-partum building up my strength again, getting over food aversions, and paying for expensive dental treatment to repair the damage to my teeth.
The Duchess of Cambridge is probably able to manage the condition differently to me. And perhaps the best medical care and nannies and staff to help take the slightest edge off. But there is definitely no royal glamour about what she, I, and 1% of pregnant women go through. Together, we are all counting down the days until the HG nightmare is over.
Lessons From Kate Middleton’s Pregnancies: 6 Ways to Fight Morning Sickness
Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting their third child, People reported yesterday. And while Prince William said this weekend that the pregnancy was “very good news,” Kensington Palace confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge is once again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum—the severe form of morning sickness she also experienced throughout her first two pregnancies.
While Middleton was hospitalized during her first pregnancy with Prince George, a statement from Kensington Palace reported that she is being cared for at her home this time around. (She was also treated at home during her second pregnancy with Princess Charlotte.) As with the Duchess’s previous pregnancies, the Palace seems to have announced the family’s good news earlier than the traditional three-month mark, as Middleton’s symptoms have required her to cancel planned events.
Hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but debilitating condition, has been described as “the morning sickness from hell.” But this persistent nausea and vomiting doesn’t just occur in the morning, and unlike run-of-the-mill morning sickness, it often lasts throughout an entire pregnancy. Only 1% to 2% of pregnant women suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, which can lead to dangerous weight loss, severe dehydration, and kidney and liver damage. Although the condition is treatable, it can become life-threatening and can even require pregnancy termination.
Back in 2012—when Middleton was pregnant with her first royal baby—Health spoke with Chad Klauser, MD, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He pointed out then that while cases of hyperemesis gravidarum are few and far between, it’s rare that any woman escapes pregnancy without some brush with nausea.
“Morning sickness affects about 80% of women in the first trimester,” Dr. Klauser told Health. Here are his tips for treating routine morning sickness—and how to know whether it’s something more dangerous that requires more serious medical care.
- Find your food triggers. Carbohydrates are often easier to tolerate than other foods. “Cheerios and toast are good first line foods to try,” he says.
- Avoid warm foods. These can worsen nausea. Instead opt for cold picks or hot beverages, such as tea.
- Stay away from fatty foods.
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
- Keep hydrated. Try Popsicles, Pedialyte, or any fluids you can get down.
- Try an over-the-counter treatment. These include vitamin B6 and Unisom, which can also be helpful, says Dr. Klauser. “Both have a long history of safety in pregnancy and improve morning sickness in approximately 80% of cases.” If those don’t work, there are prescription medications that are used safely in pregnancy to alleviate nausea.
Any woman who notices she is losing weight in pregnancy or is unable to tolerate foods or fluids for more than 24 hours should contact her doctor, says Dr. Klauser. Left untreated, hyperemesis not only leads to dangerous dehydration, but can also result in social isolation and depression. In cases like Middleton’s first pregnancy, it can require hospitalization and treatment with IV fluids and medications. A 2012 review article in the journal Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that in addition to medications, stress relief and alternative treatments such as acupuncture and hypnosis were effective in relieving the nausea and vomiting associated with the condition.
Beyond the happy news that she’s expecting, Kate’s condition could actually be a sign that her third baby, like her first two, is healthy. “Hyperemesis is thought to be somewhat protective,” Dr. Klauser said. “There’s a statistically decreased risk of fetal malformations in people who have severe vomiting or hyperemesis in pregnancy.”
Hopefully with the proper treatment, Duchess Kate feels better soon, so she and Prince William (and siblings George and Charlotte) can get back to celebrating their growing royal family.
MANY women experience morning sickness during pregnancy, but one in 100 expectant mothers have hyperemesis gravidarum, which is excessive nausea and vomiting.
But what are the symptoms of the condition that Kate Middleton suffers from? Here’s the lowdown…
3 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London, with Princess Charlotte, after Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarumCredit: PA:Press Association
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is much worse than the normal morning sickness experienced during pregnancy.
Unlike regular pregnancy sickness, HG may not get better by 14 weeks and for many needs hospital treatment.
Sufferers may be sick numerous times each day and be unable to keep food or drink down, which can massively impact their everyday life.
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Sickness may not clear up completely until the baby is born, although some symptoms can improve at around 20 weeks.
HG is unlikely to harm your baby, but can cause you to lose weight during your pregnancy, so there is an increase in chance your baby will weigh less than expected.
What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum?
Sufferers of hyperemesis gravidarum will experience more extreme nausea and vomiting than typical morning sickness.
3 Kate and Wills pictured last week – the last time she was seen before the pregnancy was announced this morningCredit: PA:Press Association
- prolonged nausea and vomiting with some women being sick up to 50 times a day
- weight loss
- dehydration – sufferers can’t keep fluids down, if you’re drinking less than 500ml a day, the NHS recommends you seek help
- ketosis – a serious condition that results in the build-up of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine
- low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing
3 Sufferers of HG may be sick numerous times each day and be unable to keep food or drink downCredit: PA:Press Association
What is the treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum?
If you are experiencing severe nausea and vomiting you should see a GP or midwife before you start suffering from dehydration and weight loss.
Sufferers may be given medication during the first 12 months to alleviate the symptoms of HG.
These typically include anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs, vitamins (B6 and B12) and steroids.
If you are admitted to hospital, doctors will assess your condition to give you the right treatment for you and your baby.
You may be given intravenous fluids through a drip attached to a vein.
Kate Middleton surprises everyone by showing up to an event, despite having morning sickness
Despite experiencing morning sickness, the pregnant Kate Middleton danced up a storm with everyone childhood fave Paddington Bear. The charming little dance happened when Middleton unexpectedly attended a charity event with Prince William and Prince Harry at the train station in London named after the beloved storybook character.
Alongside kids from charities they support, Middleton and the princes spent time with Paddington at the event, which benefits charities including Place2Be, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Anna Freud National Centre for children and Families on board the Belmond British Pullman Train, according to People.
Since it was announced that she is expecting their third child, Middleton has been largely out of the public eye as she has been suffering from acute morning sickness, otherwise known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. As she danced at the station and was twirled by Paddington Bear, though, you couldn’t tell she’s feeling less than 100 per cent.
Morning sickness solutions
Perhaps Middleton found a natural remedy to help her feel more herself.
Yes, that queasy feeling of morning sickness is something you can find some natural relief for. There are a number of herbal teas that may help soothe your symptoms, to start.
And while “spicy” might seem the opposite you want if your stomach is feeling unsettled, there are a few spices that can help calm your upset stomach, such as anise.
And that nausea? Upping your vitamin B6 can help ease those symptoms, however, do check with your doctor first before increasing your B6 intake when you’re expecting.
You could also go with the tried and true remedy you’ve likely resorted to before you were pregnant and felt queasy: Drinking flat ginger ale.
Of course, expectant moms experience more than just morning sickness.
There are a slew of new and uncomfortable things going on with your body (think swollen feet and back pain, for example), but there are also ways to ease some of those discomforts of pregnancy.
If it’s your weight you’re concerned about, this is part of a healthy pregnancy but most women gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds when pregnant, but your doctor can speak to if your weight is healthy for the stage you are at.
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