Caroline Goldstein
February 18, 2020 10:30 am

Kate Middleton is one of the most famous mothers in the world. But, as we know (but could probably stand to be reminded of every once in a while), fame doesn’t make a person immune to the physical and emotional tolls a difficult pregnancy can take. On a recent episode of the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast, the Duchess of Cambridge opened up about her own difficult experiences with hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. “I was really sick,” Middleton said.

Middleton is currently promoting her 5 Big Questions on the Under Fives online survey, which aims to “bring together the thoughts of individuals, organizations, and businesses so that we can build the healthiest generation in history by giving every child the best start in life.” But the conversation shifted to Middleton’s experience as a mother when host Giovanna Fletcher asked what Middleton’s first pregnancy with son George was like.

“I got very bad morning sickness,” Middleton said, “so I’m not the happiest of pregnant people.”

She said that she experienced that severe morning sickness again while pregnant with both her daughter Charlotte and her son Louis. She added that her condition took a toll on “everybody in the family,” including her husband.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, hyperemesis gravidarum is “a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance.” Hyperemesis gravidarum distinguishes itself from run-of-the-mill morning sickness (which an estimated 70 to 80% of pregnant women experience in some form) by the severity of its symptoms, which don’t eventually subside. Middleton’s case was so severe during her first pregnancy that she was admitted to a hospital for a few days during her first trimester.

But it was while battling hyperemesis gravidarum that Middleton took to hypnobirthing, a holistic birthing method.

Hypnobirthing “includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning,” according to the official website. Although hypnobirthing prepares women for birth, Middleton found the method equally useful for combating her illness.

The Duchess is typically mum (sorry, had to) about her personal life. But we’re so grateful for her candor on this topic. The more that highly visible women use their platforms to talk about the difficult aspects of pregnancy, the less alone all pregnant women will feel when they encounter their own challenges.

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