Kate Middleton and Price William are officially giving mini royals George and Charlotte another (adorable) sibling, and the news is sending the world into regal fever once again. But sprinkled in with the happy announcement is talk of the duchess’ not-so-fun pregnancy condition.
Just like with her two previous pregnancies, Middleton is dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which, yes, sounds kind of terrifying. But even though you don’t hear the name getting tossed around on a regular basis, it’s actually way more common than you realize.
Basically, HG is morning sickness to the extreme. While 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness, 60,000 are hospitalized from this amped-up version each year, a 2010 UCLA study reported—and that’s just in the US alone.
Some women have reported vomiting up to 50 times a day.
Instead of experiencing a bout of nausea here and there, women with this condition have extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy, the Cleveland Clinic reported. It tends to occur during the first trimester, and can involve vomiting more than three to four times a day. That vomiting can then cause women to lose weight, feel dizzy and light-headed, and become dehydrated. In extremely severe cases, some women have reported vomiting up to 50 times a day, says the UK National Health Service.
Since Middleton already experienced HG in the past, it’s not shocking that she has it again: Reoccurrences are common. And Pippa better be prepared—pregnant women whose sisters had it are 17 times more likely to have it, too.
Luckily, there are many ways to help combat HG—like small, frequent meals (like Serena Williams’ healthy pregnancy snacks) and acupuncture, says a 2000 Journal of Pain and Symptom Management study reported—so hopefully the mother-to-be’s battle will be a short one.