Kate Middleton wowed everyone when she left the hospital just seven hours after giving birth to third royal baby on Monday (April 23). That’s amazing, especially when she had a difficult pregnancy.
The stylish royal suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum throughout her three pregnancies. The debilitating condition causes severe vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy and may cause dehydration, weight loss and a build-up of ketosis – toxins in the blood or urine.
It was so unbearable that she was hospitalised while carrying Prince George in 2012, and had to miss his first day of school last year while expecting Baby No. 3.
Kate’s pregnancy announcement came as a surprise to many, who thought she would stop at two because of her past struggles with the disease.
So, what exactly is hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?
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.
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. After all, Kate had George, right?
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.
(Photos: Instagram/Kensington Palace)
A version of this article first appeared in Her World; additional reporting Young Parents