'Hyperemesis gravidarum': Acute morning sickness
Hyperemesis gravidarum, for which Prince William's wife Catherine has been hospitalised, is a severe but treatable form of morning sickness, says Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Morning sickness -- formally called nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) -- affects around 30 percent of women in early pregnancy, it says.
Hormonal changes in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are considered the likely cause, and the symptoms can occur day or night.
Around one in 200 pregnant women is affected by a severe form of NVP, known by the Latin term of Hyperemesis gravidarum, according to Britain's state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
"Symptoms can include persistent vomiting, dehydration, tiredness and dizziness," the college's spokesman, consultant obstetrician Daghni Rajasingam, said.
Hospitalisation may be needed in severe cases to treat dehydration with intravenous fluids for a few days, as it is impossible to keep fluids down, she said.
"The condition usually subsides by week 12 of pregnancy, and with early diagnosis and treatment there is no reason why we shouldn't expect a healthy pregnancy," Rajasingam added.
A review of NVP, published by the college's journal, found that in severe cases, morning sickness can profoundly affect a woman's quality of life, causing "feelings of depression, difficulties between partners and concern for the health of the unborn child."
But there are several "safe, effective" medical options for dealing with it, including antihistamines as well as, in relatively small doses, vitamin B6, the society said.
© 2012 AFP