Updated 14 April 2015

Kate's struggle with extreme morning sickness

The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child and again suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness that plagued her pregnancy with Prince George.


Earlier today it was confirmed by Clarence House that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child.  The statement issued by the Kensington Palace reported that the Queen and other members of the royal family are “delighted” by the news. Once born, the baby will be fourth in line to the throne, regardless of the gender.

According to the Independent, Kensington Palace also confirmed that Duchess Kate is once again suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a condition that complicated her first pregnancy with Prince George.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum explained

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a condition whereby a pregnant woman suffers extreme nausea and vomiting which can result in severe dehydration and weight loss. While many women suffer from some form of morning sickness during pregnancy, this condition is far more intense. In serious cases, mothers with HG are admitted to hospital to receive fluids through an IV to prevent dehydration.

The cause of morning sickness is believed to be related to rising levels of a hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), in the blood. During early pregnancy, the HCG levels in the body double every 2-3 days and continue to rise throughout pregnancy.

There are a number of risk factors that place a mother at a higher risk of developing HG. According to Healthline, these include:

·         Being pregnant for the first time

·         Having a previous history of HG

·         Being pregnant with multiples

·         Being overweight or obese

Read: Hyperemesis Gravidarum may be hereditary

The difference between HG and morning sickness

American Pregnancy states that Hyperemesis Gravidarum differs from morning sickness  in that the nausea is accompanied by severe vomiting, often occuring several times per day, sufferers are unable to hold down any food or fluids and possibly become dehydrated as a result. This presents a serious health risk to both the mother and her unborn child.

Symptoms include the following:

-          Extreme nausea

-          Severe vomiting

-          Low blood pressure and fainting

-          Weighing less than pre-pregnancy weight

-          Headaches and confusion

-          Fatigue

-          Dehydration

-          Aversion to consuming anything

Should a woman experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, it is important to seek professional advice from a doctor. It is very important that sufferers do not self-medicate without consulting a doctor first.

According to Medline Plus, HG is most severe between the 2nd and 12th week of pregnancy and usually disappears entirely by the second half of the pregnancy.

HG unlikely to harm royal baby

Luckily for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HG rarely causes harm to the unborn child. Because of the inability to hold down any food, babies born to women suffering from HG can have a lower than average birth weight. The Independent states that Duchess Kate is currently being treated by doctors at the Kensington Palace where her Hyperemesis Gravidarum will be carefully monitored and treated.

Read more:
Morning sickness tips
Morning sickness tied to higher child IQ
Morning sickness drug approved

Image: By Maximus0970 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (Creative Commons)], via Wikimedia Commons

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