Kate Middleton had the same condition during her pregnancies.
We’ve all heard about morning sickness — the all too common bouts of nausea and vomiting more than half of pregnant women experience.
And it’s a condition that doesn’t care about your background or celebrity status.
In October, comedian Amy Schumer, 37, announced she and her husband Chris Fischer are expecting a baby. Schumer is now in her second trimester.
Last week, Schumer disclosed she had developed a condition similar to severe morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which resulted in her being hospitalized.
“I’m fine. Baby’s fine but everyone who says the 2nd trimester is better is not telling the full story. I’ve been even more ill this trimester. I have hyperemesis and it blows,” Schumer wrote.
Hyperemesis gravidarum isn’t morning sickness
To be clear, HG and morning sickness are related, but technically not the same condition.
While the conditions may seem rather similar, HG is much less common and more painful than morning sickness.
Morning sickness is generally harmless and tends to subside within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Some studies have found that morning sickness or nausea and vomiting may indicate the placenta is developing well and be associated with lower risk of miscarriage, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
HG tends to last much longer and have debilitating side effects. Women with HG may experience severe nausea and vomiting, weight loss, extreme dehydration, constipation, and an inability to eat or drink.
HG can take a serious toll on your quality of life. Those who have HG are often unable to work, do daily tasks and chores, and care for their families, says the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
“While some attribute HG to fluctuating hormone levels, the exact cause is not known,” Dr. Jennifer Haythe, an internist and cardiologist with the Women’s Center for Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University in New York, told Healthline.
According to Haythe, obesity, a history of HG, and a history of an eating disorder are its main risk factors. Additionally, those who are pregnant for the first time and those who are expecting multiples are also more likely to have HG.
If you have HG, it’s important to seek treatment immediately
HG doesn’t cause immediate harm to the baby. But if left untreated, it can lead to complications, including premature birth.
“Untreated, women with HG can develop a number of nutritional deficiencies as well as a low birth weight fetus if weight loss occurs and appropriate weight gain does not,” Haythe said.
Additionally, previous research has suggested that babies exposed to HG in the womb are more likely to have neurodevelopmental delay, such as attention disorders or speech or language impairments.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to consult your doctor immediately if you begin to experience severe nausea and vomiting while pregnant.
“Women who cannot keep food down, feel lightheaded, and/or who are losing weight during their pregnancy should contact their physician, as they may need to be brought into the hospital for IV fluid hydration and medications that prevent nausea,” Haythe said.
In more extreme cases, tube feeding can help supply vital nutrients to the body and curb nausea and vomiting.
On top of that, NORD advises to get plenty of bed rest, avoid odors that may trigger nausea or vomiting, and steer clear of foods that may worsen symptoms.
Most women will experience some degree of morning sickness during their pregnancy. If symptoms persist or worsen, it may be time to make some lifestyle changes or check in with your healthcare provider.
HG is no joke. If you do wind up with it, just remember that it will pass once you give birth.