While we celebrate the news of Royal baby number three, there’s also concern for the Duchess of Cambridge as she again suffers hyperemesis gravdiarum (HG) – a debilitating pregnancy sickness condition.
Characterised by severe nausea and vomiting, it’s suffered by more than 15,000 women every year, but very little is known about its causes and effects.
My research looks at women’s experiences of the condition, with the aim of educating medical professionals on how they can support sufferers, which will ultimately improve their care. Treatment has improved over the last few years, but we do still have a long way to go.
So what is HG? It’s often misdiagnosed, and dismissed, as severe morning sickness but it can have a huge impact on sufferers and their families.
It can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, as the mother can’t take any food or drink on board, isolation and, in turn, potentially mental health problems.
It is hoped that the research we are undertaking with international collaboration will help to establish a pre-pregnancy intervention to reduce the impact of recurring hyperemesis in subsequent pregnancies. As we’ve seen in the Duchess’s experience, unlike morning sickness which can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy, HG generally recurs in subsequent pregnancies and for some women gets worse with each subsequent pregnancy.
Researchers and experts from around the world will also be joining me at Royal Windsor Racecourse on 5-6 October for the International Colloquium on HG (ICHG) www.ichg2017.org, with topics ranging from nutritional guidelines for HG to genetic research behind the condition.
By attending this conference, we want to encourage professionals to standardise care across the UK and beyond so that all women can get the best care and treatment available. It will be an opportunity for researchers, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest to learn about the latest developments and innovative treatments for the complex condition which the Duchess, and thousands more around the world, are sadly experiencing.