Baby No. 3 is on the way for Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. But first, the expectant mom is grappling with her third encounter with hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness.
On Monday, the Royal couple announced the news about their expanding family – Middleton had to cancel an engagement due to severe morning sickness. The baby will be fifth in line to the throne, after grandfather Prince Charles, father William and elder siblings George, 4, and Charlotte, 2.
It’s unclear when the baby is due, though.
“As with her previous two pregnancies, the Duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum,” Kensington Palace officials said.
“The Duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace,” it read.
Middleton was supposed to visit a children’s centre but bowed out because of poor health. In her last two pregnancies, she was hospitalized because of the condition.
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
This isn’t your average morning sickness, according to experts. HG is an “extreme form” that causes severe nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy – conventional morning sickness typically tapers off within 12 to 14 weeks.
With HG, pregnant women grapple with incessant nausea and vomiting that could lead to severe dehydration. Women have trouble keeping food and liquids down, according to Healthline.
In turn, potassium levels drop and doctors need to monitor electrolyte levels and hydration.
This explains why Middleton needed intravenous fluids during her previous pregnancies.
“The vomiting is recurrent and severe enough to cause weight loss of five per cent of the woman’s pre-pregnancy weight,” Global News medical contributor Dr. Samir Gupta explained.
“It’s not a psychological problem. They will hear from people that it’s in their head, it’s not that bad and it’s normal,” Dr. Doug Hepburn, an obstetrician at Oshawa, Ont.’s, Lakeridge Health, said.
How common is hyperemesis gravidarum?
Only two per cent of women deal with symptoms so severe that they become dehydrated.
Traditional morning sickness afflicts about 80 per cent of pregnant women, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Women deal with fatigue, a loss of appetite and some nausea and vomiting that eases up by the third or fourth month of pregnancy.
HG, meanwhile, affects about one in 200 women, the AAFP estimates.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include “persistent” vomiting, dehydration, ketosis, electrolyte disturbances, and weight loss of more than five per cent of body weight.
“Unlike morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum may have negative implications for maternal and fetal health. Physicians should carefully evaluate patients with non-resolving or worsening symptoms,” the AAFP said.
If women are already underweight, for example, they could have an increased risk for problems during their pregnancy if HG is added into the mix.
— With files from Reuters, Terry Elkady and Global News
(Janet Cordahi/Global News)