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Explainer: Why was pregnant duchess hospitalized?

  • FILE - Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge seen during her visit to St. Andrew’s School, where she attended school, in Pangbourne, England, in this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, St James's Palace officially announced Monday Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Arthur Edwards, File)

LONDON — While morning sickness in pregnant women is common, the problem the Duchess of Cambridge has been hospitalized with is not.

In a statement Monday, palace officials said she was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum, a potentially dangerous type of morning sickness where vomiting is so severe no food or liquid can be kept down. Palace officials said the duchess was expected to remain hospitalized for several days and would require a period of rest afterwards.

"It's not unusual for pregnant women to get morning sickness, but when it gets to the point where you're dehydrated, losing weight or vomiting so much you begin to build up (toxic) products in your blood, that's a concern," said Dr. Kecia Gaither, director of maternal fetal medicine at Brookdale University and Medical Center in New York.

The condition is thought to affect about one in 50 pregnant women and tends to be more common in young women, women who are pregnant for the first time, those expecting multiple babies and in non-smokers. Gaither said that fewer than one percent of women with the condition need to be hospitalized.

Doctors aren't sure what causes it but suspect it could be linked to hormonal changes or nutritional problems.


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