Pregnant Kate Middleton is in hospital with Hyperemesis Gravidarum – what is it?

Kim Hookem-Smith

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a fairly rare form of morning sickness that has reportedly struck the newly pregnant Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate, who it was revealed today is around 12 weeks pregnant, is currently receiving treatment for the condition, which will include rehydration and nutrients, to avoid malnutrition.

The condition can be extremely unpleasant for a mum-to-be and must be particularly difficult as Kate is going through her first pregnancy in the full glare of the world media.

But though unpleasant, hyperemesis doesn’t signal that there’s anything wrong with the pregnancy or baby and with medical support, most women do find ways to cope and get by.

Morning sickness is very common, with around 70 per cent of pregnant women experiencing it, but hyperemesis affects just two per cent of pregnancies. It varies in severity but can cause relentless vomiting and nausea and lead to weight loss. And unlike morning sickness, hyperemesis frequently continues after the first trimester.

[Related: A royal baby on the way for Kate and Wills]

Medications are available and safe to take in pregnancy to prevent vomiting, though many mums-to-be prefer not to take drugs at all. Doctors will decide to medicate if the severity of the symptoms are in any way likely to have an effect on the baby, such as not getting enough nutrition as the mother struggles to take on board enough nutrients from food.

Experiencing hyperemesis in one pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean that future pregnancies will be affected but if you have had it once, you do have a higher chance of experiencing again.

Some home remedies for morning sickness can help for hyperemesis, such as ginger, fizzy drinks, separating solid food and fluids when eating and taking vitamin B6 supplements.

[Related: Kate's early pregnancy style]

No doubt Kate is receiving the very best care in hospital and we wish her a speeding recovery.