Three things the Queen of England does not want us to think about:
- Corgis mating
- How royal babies are made
- The lovely former Kate Middleton clinging to a porcelain throne instead of her rightful one, puking while Prince William holds her hair and says lovely encouraging things like, "Good on you, luv!" and the nanny tries in vain to keep Prince George and Princess Charlotte out of the bathroom. Royals: They, too, are susceptible to awful, rare, mind-boggling health conditions that simply don't discriminate.
Don't worry about the corgis, Your Majesty. (Sorry, but we just don't care.) That said, royal reproduction has definitely been on our minds ever since Kensington Palace tweeted on Sept. 3 that Kate and William are indeed expecting their third child.
The duchess is early in her first trimester — so why the official announcement so soon with the risk of miscarriage still uncertain? Well, the folks at the palace made the decision share the news before it hit the media via whispery Reddit sub-threads since poor Kate is once again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, the violent and rare version of morning sickness that incapacitated her during her first two pregnancies. In fact, the duchess was already too sick to make a scheduled engagement on Sept. 4.
"Morning sickness" is an innocuous and misleading term in many cases, including Kate's. Regular old morning sickness affects up to 80 percent of pregnant women — and would likely befit our favorite elegant AF duchess much more nicely than hyperemesis gravidarum, its far more sinister and unrelenting cousin.
One could spring back from morning sickness via a delicate dab of the mouth with a monogrammed handkerchief — and maybe a swish of mouthwash served in a tiny silver cup. But hyperemesis gravidarum, which only occurs in about 2 percent of pregnancies, is marked by vomiting so intense and unremitting that sufferers are often hospitalized for IV fluid and nutrition therapy — as Kate was while pregnant with Prince George. (It's possible she was also hospitalized for the same condition while pregnant with Princess Charlotte, but that remains unconfirmed.)
Dr. Sherry Ross, a Santa Monica OB-GYN, and Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist in New York City, spoke with Us Weekly about hyperemesis gravidarum and how — and why — it may be affecting Kate.
“Persistent nausea and vomiting can become so severe that moms lose weight and become malnourished and dehydrated... In these situations, hospitalization, intravenous hydration, and nutrition are needed," said Ross. “Eating and drinking is a nightmare... Women suffering from HG can feel depleted, exhausted and depressed.”
So if even the Duchess of Cambridge is susceptible to this debilitating condition, obviously so are we normals. So what are the risk factors? Is there anything a woman can do to avoid HG?
Knopman has little good news for us on that front, unfortunately. HG is pretty much out of a mom-to-be's control. And it can — but doesn't always — attack the same poor women during more than one pregnancy. “Usually women who get it once are more likely to get it again,” she said. “Risk factors include a personal or family history of HG... and a history of motion sickness or migraines.”
And if you're expecting twins, triplets or more, well, buckle up. Mothers-to-be who are preparing for multiples are at higher risk for HG, possibly due to higher levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone wreaking havoc in the body like a drunken freshman frat boy desperately trying to steamroll his way off campus.
There is a little bit of good news about HG, according to Knopman. If HG is monitored and the mother receives good medical treatment, she might actually be at lower risk for miscarriage. “The thinking is that the higher hCG levels indicate a healthy and robust placenta," Knopman said. "The better the placenta, the better the chance that the pregnancy will progress.”
Well, if anybody has a robust placenta, it's probably Kate. (We imagine it's shaped like a limited-edition Prada purse.)
When will our dear duchess be out and about again in her signature nude hose and heels doing wonderful charity work and coaxing George and Charlotte in and out of private jets, you ask? Ross said HG can stick around until 20 weeks (*gulp*) of pregnancy or even longer. “It tends to improve in the last half of pregnancy but may persist until delivery," Ross said.
Kate's doctors are likely recommending the same things Ross recommends to her nonroyal HG patients: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast (the BRAT diet, which is neither Wisconsin bratwurst nor connotes any brattiness on Kate's part), along with ice-cold, fizzy beverages in teeny-tiny sips. No red-hot curries, super-salty foods or gigantic portions of protein. Vitamin B6, ginger and acupressure and acupuncture are also put to use — whether or not they actually work — by many HG sufferers seeking natural remedies.
Just close your eyes, sip your cool, carbonated ginger beverage, and think of England, Kate. We're rooting for you.