As Kate Middleton celebrates her wonderful baby news, there’s one thing she most certainly will not be hanging the Royal bunting out over – her second bout of hyperemesis gravidarum.
Along with the confirmation from Kensington Palace that Prince George is to get a little sibling was the revelation that once again, the Duchess of Cambridge was not having an easy time with her pregnancy. She is, the Palace said, ‘being treated by doctors’ for her severe morning sickness.
So how does hyperemesis gravidarum differ from the nausea most pregnant women experience in their first trimester? For a start, hyperemesis gravidarum isn’t confined just to mornings (nor, often, is ‘normal’ morning sickness for that matter!). If you’re suffering like Kate you’ll be facing non-stop vomiting.
Fortunately, there is seldom any risk to the baby from hyperemesis gravidarum, unless you lose a lot of weight. But the seriousness of the condition means that doctors and midwives will be keeping a very close eye on you. This may mean a stay in hospital to maintain and monitor your fluid levels, which is what happened to Kate while pregnant with Prince George – and also to TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp.
Like Kate first time round, mums who have not experienced pregnancy or morning sickness before will of course have no yardstick with which to measure their feelings of nausea. Soo how do you KNOW if you have hyperemesis gravidarum rather than just the sickness you’d expect to have?
While lots of mums-to-be will be needing to rush to the loo at the merest thought of some foods, or have their stomach turning at certain smells, those with hypermesis gravidarum will be much more severely affected, with dehydration (dark urine will be an indicator of this) and the inability to keep any food or drink down. These would have been the signs that Kate’s doctors would have been looking out for this time round, to decide what was ‘normal’ and what could be HG.
When pregnant with Prince George, Kate spent three days being treated in the King Edward VII hospital, before being allowed home to recuperate, and ultimately welcoming her bouncing baby boy – totally unaffected by his mum’s rather unpleasant early pregnancy. Although this time round she is being treated at home, her care givers will not hesitate to admit her if her fluid intake causes concern – just like with any other mum-to-be.
“Ninety per cent of women will suffer sickness in pregnancy, which is normal,” says Henry Annan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “It’s only when it is excessive and you can’t keep anything down that it’s likely you will be admitted to hospital, for dehydration. This usually helps settle things.”
And of course with this latest pregnancy comes much speculation and old wives’ tales and theories – severe morning sickness is thought by some to be a sure sign a woman is having a baby boy. It certainly proved true last time, but does the Palace’s confirmation that Kate is once again enduring hyperemesis gravidarum mean that she will soon be mum to two little princes? Watch this space…