Even royalty get morning sickness

Hyperemesis gravidarum strikes Kate Middleton again

Hyperemesis gravidarum strikes Kate Middleton again

The announcement that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant with her second child was met with joy and much speculation about the baby’s sex and name. Unfortunately, the announcement brought with it the bad news that Kate is again experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a severe form of morning sickness.

The American Pregnancy Association reports that 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness. A very small number are diagnosed with HG, which is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases of HG are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacid medicines. In more severe cases, the mom-to-be requires a hospital stay to receive fluids and nutrition intravenously. You may recall that Kate was hospitalized due to HG early in her pregnancy with George, who was born in July 2013.

Signs and symptoms of HG:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Food aversions
  • Loss of 5 percent or more of prepregnancy weight
  • Decrease in urination
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Anxiety/depression

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is believed to be caused by the rapidly rising blood level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which the placenta releases. Symptoms usually appear between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy and may peak between the ninth and 13th weeks. Most women receive some relief between weeks 14 and 20, although up to 20 percent may require care for the condition throughout their pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

What can you do to prevent or mitigate morning sickness?

“Nausea in pregnancy is often prevented by eating small frequent snacks or meals,” said Lyndsey D. Neese, M.D., OB/GYN, Norton Women’s Specialists – Downtown. “Taking 25 mg of vitamin B6 three times a day also helps prevent nausea. Foods and teas containing ginger are helpful.”

When should you be concerned?

“You should contact your physician or go to an emergency department for vomiting that is persistent, especially if you are not able to tolerate liquids or if you feel dizzy and weak,” Dr. Neese said.

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