Kate Middleton’s Illness Is So Much More than Morning Sickness

I spent the first 12 weeks of this, my second pregnancy, in a constant state of nausea. I woke up queasy, moved through my day queasy, and went to bed queasy. The queasiness was broken up only by full-speed dashes to the bathroom where I’d release the contents of whatever food items actually made it down my throat. I was not overjoyed and definitely not aglow with new life blossoming within me. My face was a consistent shade of pea green and my posture was defeated and hunched over. I was a mess. It was not fun.

Luckily for me, the sickness lifted almost the moment I transitioned into the second trimester. I was thrilled to be liberated from my “nausea suit” as I had come to call it. I could eat again. I could move more than two feet away from the bathroom again. Things were looking up. My experience was brief and in retrospect quite mild. I have friends who were sick from the moment of conception through birth. Those women clearly suffered, and through Kate Middleton’s recent hospitalization, I’ve also come to understand that there’s morning sickness and then there is hyperemesis gravidarum or HG.

While between 50 and 90 percent of pregnant women experience some level of morning sickness, only one or two percent of pregnant women are struck with hyperemesis gravidarum — extremely severe pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. I feel for the Dutchess. According to the Her Foundation, an organization dedicated to Hyperemesis Education and Research, HG is  “unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.” The condition can lead to over 10 percent loss of pre-pregnancy body weight as well as dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and metabolic imbalances.

HG can extend past the first trimester, often lasting as long as 21 weeks. It is essential that women suffering from HG seek out treatment right away as untreated symptoms can lead to severe weight loss and eventual harm of both mama and baby. If you are struggling with “morning sickness” that seems especially severe, do not hesitate to reach out to your OB, midwife or other care provider. There HG can be managed and those struggling with the condition should receive specialized care as soon as possible.

Check out these resources for more information about HG:

–  The Her Foundation

Beyond Morning Sickness (BookSuge Publishing)