The condition hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is commonly referred to as extreme morning sickness, affects approximately one out of every 100 expectant mothers. The most prominent figure to suffer this condition in recent times is undoubtedly Kate Middleton. According to The Daily Mail, the Duchess of Cambridge has actually suffered through this elevated morning sickness condition during both of her public pregnancies.
Now new research is attempting to better determine what causes this debilitating conditions, and some scientists believe they’ve found at least one interesting factor. The Trivers-Willard hypothesis, as it’s known, says that women who experience hyperemesis gravidarum have a better chance of bearing a girl, according to the New Scientist.
“Normally, slightly more boys than girls are born, we don’t quite know why that is,” said the study’s lead researcher, Lena Edlund of Columbia University in New York.
However, analysis of 1.65 million pregnancies in Sweden used for the study found that 56% of women who had successful pregnancies with the extreme morning sickness conditions had baby girls. Perhaps even more interesting was the data they found relating to socioeconomic standing.
The team of researchers found that women who left school at the age of 16 were 76% more likely to develop the hyperemesis gravidarum condition compared to women who earned masters or Ph.D. degrees. Unfortunately, HG also carries an even deadlier consequence as well. Approximately one-third of pregnant women with the condition will not reach full term and miscarry.
HG has similar symptoms to the flu, which affects between 5% and 20% of Americans annually, and can have severe side-effects for both the mother and unborn child. It’s not uncommon for women to vomit 50 times a day or more when suffering from extreme morning sickness, and they oftentimes require intravenous fluids to remain hydrated.
Even if a pregnant woman avoids a miscarriage, the child’s development can still be affected and result in premature births and low birth weight.