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What's Up With Kate Middleton's "Tricky" Pregnancy?

The Duchess of Cambridge is suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Here's what you should know.

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Kate is pregnant with the second royal baby, and once again she and Wills have formally announced the pregnancy before the customary 12-week mark to explain Kate's absences from public events.

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

So why can't the Duchess hang with the rest of the royals? Middleton has been reported to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, which is basically Latin for "really serious vomiting." (No, really, it is.)

Prince William says it's been a tricky few days - a week or so - for Kate. "But we're basically thrilled. Early days."

Richard Palmer@RoyalReporter

Prince William says it's been a tricky few days - a week or so - for Kate. "But we're basically thrilled. Early days."

7:45 AM - 08 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

It's one of those really unpleasant parts of pregnancy that no one tells you about beforehand, and the struggle is real. According to the Cleveland Clinic, hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG to those unfortunate enough to be familiar, is traditionally diagnosed in women who have lost 10 or more pounds or have become severely dehydrated due to pregnancy-induced vomiting.

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OK but, isn't this just the same as regular morning sickness?

No, it's much more severe. Morning sickness occurs in 50–90% of all pregnancies, but HG manifests in less than 2% of pregnant women. Women suffering from HG are frequently unable to leave their house due to the extreme nausea and/or need to be hospitalized in order to remain hydrated and maintain healthy pregnancies. Symptoms of hyperemesis include a constant state of nausea/dizziness, and an inability to take in food or water, resulting in dehydration and sometimes starvation.

What can happen?

Untreated, HG can be quite serious for both mother and child. Liver and kidney damage and nutritional deficiencies are amongst the likely side effects if the condition isn't properly monitored. While many cases subside around the end of the first trimester, some women deal with debilitating nausea and vomiting throughout their entire pregnancy.

Does this mean it's twins? Or a girl?

Nope. Old wives' tales don't get any truer when it comes to morning sickness. As Prince George has proven, rumors that women with hyperemesis are more likely to be carrying twins or girls are exactly that: rumors.

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