Photo: 123rf

Earlier this week, Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting baby number three.

As the world rejoices over Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, we learn that the Duchess of Cambridge is experiencing yet another bout of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).  This is the same debilitating condition that plagued the royal when she was pregnant with Prince George, now four, and Princess Charlotte, age two.  The Duchess is currently being cared for at the Kensington Palace.  A royal engagement was also cancelled so Her Royal Highness could get some rest and stay at the palace with the family.

So, what exactly is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Photo: 123rf

While nausea and vomiting is very common in the early stages of pregnancy, HG is a severe form of that. Some of the more apparent symptoms of the sickness include uncontrollable vomiting accompanied with acute nausea. This can happen up to 50 times daily for some mothers with HG. Other symptoms of the uncomfortable condition include dehydration as a result of being unable to keep even a single drop of water down, a deficiency in important nutrients, and weight loss. Sometimes, the condition is so unbearable, it can leave mothers bedridden and even hospitalised, like the Duchess when she was expecting Prince George. 

What triggers HG?

While the exact causes of HG remain unknown, the illness has been linked high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the pregnancy hormone. Factors like having the condition in an earlier pregnancy, being overweight, conceiving multiples, or being pregnant for the first time may increase a woman’s chances of being afflicted with HG. Some studies also suggest that women whose mothers suffered HG were more likely to have the same experience during their pregnancy.

Photo: Kensington Palace

How long will the condition last?

The illness is diagnosed usually about nine weeks into the pregnancy, and thankfully, in most cases, it goes away after 16 or 20 weeks. Also, it has been proven that HG has minimal impact on the unborn baby’s health and it is rare for the condition to persist after birth.

What should you do if you have HG?

Like with any other illnesses, it is pivotal to stay hydrated and well nourished by consuming small but frequent meals. Vitamins, ginger capsules, antihistamines and anti-nausea medication are typically prescribed to women with HG.

Does it mean Kate is having a girl?

While there have been studies that suggest that women who suffer from HG are more likely to be pregnant with girls, there is no hard evidence that points the correlation between the sex of the baby and HG. Afterall, Kate had George right? 

Photo: Kensington Palace

Stay strong, Kate

Being pregnant is a beautiful yet challenging experience in itself, let alone being pregnant in the public eye. The illness would be tough on anyone and our heart goes out to Kate and her family as well as all the brave mothers out there who are experiencing HG.