As we all know, Princess Charlotte was just born to the royal couple, Kate and William, last month. But, Kate’s morning sickness was the original media story – for both Charlotte and George. Instead of speculating on the gender and possible name of the new royal baby, all news outlets had been focusing on Kate’s horrendous battle with morning sickness. Now, that the worst is behind Kate, we wanted to remind everyone about morning sickness, and how you can counter the effects to provide you a safe and healthy (and happy) pregnancy.
As was with her first pregnancy, the Duchess has once again been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). Unfortunately, this isn’t just your regular “I feel a tad nauseous” type of morning sickness, we are talking about a sickness so severe that it can cause hospitalization and even death if not properly treated.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of all pregnant woman experience some sort of morning sickness during their first trimester. Whereas only a very small percentage of women (1% – 2%) are diagnosed with HG.
What is the difference between your typical morning sickness and HG? Below is a chart by the American Pregnancy Association, detailing the differences:
|Morning Sickness:||Hyperemesis Gravidarum:|
|Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting||Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting|
|Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after||Nausea that does not subside|
|Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration||Vomiting that causes severe dehydration|
|Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down||Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down|
Additional signs and symptoms of HG include:
- Rapid Weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
Why does HG and or morning sickness even happen? Although research has not nailed down the exact cause, it is believed that it may be due to a rise in hormone levels. Specifically, the rapidly rising levels of the hormones: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen.
What is hCG? When an egg is fertilized and attaches to the uterine wall, the placenta starts to develop. This developing placenta then begins to release hcG. The function of this hormone is to basically ensure the production of progesterone, thereby preventing a woman’s body from having her period, which in turns helps to maintain a pregnancy.
What about estrogen? What is it and what does it do? During pregnancy, estrogen is also produced by the placenta. It’s role is to help the uterus grow, and to maintain the uterine lining, it also helps increase blood circulation and after birth helps with milk production.
The increased combination of these two hormones can throw things off in your system, producing the symptoms mentioned above. However, typical morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby, in fact, many doctors think morning sickness is actually a good sign! Studies have found that women who have signs of morning sickness are less likely to miscarry and even have a reduced risk of preterm birth. But, not having morning sickness does not mean that you are at a higher risk of these things either, just means you lucked out! Although typical morning sickness is not harmful to you or baby, hyperemesis gravidarum, if severe enough and left untreated, can be harmful.
How is it treated? For mild cases dietary changes, antacids and rest will do the trick. However for more severe cases, the mom-to-be will most likely be hospitalized so she can be hooked to an IV to replenish all her lost nutrients and electrolytes.
According to research, here are some things you can do to relieve morning sickness:
- Eat small meals throughout the day
- Drink fluids before or after a meal, but not with meals
- Eat soda crackers 15 minutes before getting up in the morning
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid warm places since heat can add to nausea
- Acupressure also has been used by many to help relieve the duration and severity of the sickness.
During pregnancy, a women’s body is put through a million different physical changes.. some pleasant and some not so pleasant. Regardless, it is very important for all women to be their own advocates. If something does not feel right, please speak to your doctor right away.