Kate Middleton chats to father whose wife suffered the same acute morning sickness during pregnancy – and makes rare comment about her own experience
Kate Middleton today recalled her acute morning sickness as she had a conversation with a fellow parent while visiting a sensory development class in Kent.
The mother of three suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) during all her pregnancies.
In fact, the 41-year-old’s first pregnancy has now been announced early, before she reached the typical 12-week mark, after she was admitted to hospital with the condition, which causes persistent and excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
HG is common and affects approximately 15 percent of all pregnancies. However, in its extreme form – where a pregnant woman is hospitalized or suffers from it during her pregnancy – it is much rarer.
It is much more serious than the nausea that expectant mothers often experience.
The Princess of Wales (pictured) wore a red blazer today as she took part in a children’s play session on sensory development.
During the session, she spoke to a father who revealed that his wife suffered from Hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that Kate also experienced during all three of her pregnancies.
The condition is believed to be caused by elevated levels of the ‘pregnancy hormone’ HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which increases after conception.
She spoke about it to father-of-four Steve Ikebuwa, from Gravesend, whose youngest child Nathan, 11 months, has severe learning difficulties.
He told her how the Kent Portage Service helped Nathan’s development.
Mr Ikebuwa told the princess that his wife, like her, suffered from severe morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes severe vomiting during pregnancy.
He said of the conversation: “It was nice meeting her. When I told her that my wife had Hyperemesis gravidarum, it struck a chord with her.
“You saw an expression of ‘I’ve been through that’.”
He added: ‘She said, ‘I had that, I know what it’s like.’ You could see her connection to my wife going through all this.
‘That really appealed to me. She’s a nice lady.’
father of four Steve Ikebuwa from Gravesend
Father-of-four Steve Ikebuwa (pictured) from Gravesend spoke to Kate about extreme morning sickness. He described the royal family as a ‘pleasant lady’
The Princess, who is known for her down-to-earth and motherly character, immediately felt at home during the sensory development workshop.
And she showed her gentle side as she rubbed a young girl’s back during today’s session in Kent
During Kate’s visit today, her maternal side was clearly visible.
She seemed to enjoy interacting with the kids, from rubbing toddlers’ backs and tickling their tummies to helping to daub toys with foam and throw tinsel and scraps of paper around.
There was a serious point to her visit to the Orchards Center in Sittingbourne, Kent.
This highlighted the importance of supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families.
The National Portage Association is a council-run home visiting service for children from birth to preschool in England and Wales, providing trained practitioners to help with their development
Kate Middleton, 41, showed off her motherly nature as she attended class at the center in Kent
A playful Kate beamed with joy as she had fun with a group of young people during a sensory development class in Kent earlier today
But Kate, who wore a red Zara boucle jacket, skinny trousers and flat pumps and with her hair swept back in an elegant bun, cemented her reputation as a child princess when she got stuck in it.
“She’s very sweet!” she gushed about a little girl named Skylar, who is almost two and enjoyed spreading foam all over herself and others, but luckily she avoided getting the princess in trouble.
She laughed as Beatrice, three, screamed with joy at the sight of shredded paper going everywhere.
And she applauded Darcie, a three-year-old girl with Down syndrome, who carefully poured brightly colored squares of paper into a cup.
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a condition that causes persistent and excessive vomiting during pregnancy.
Patients may be sick many times each day and be unable to keep food or water down, impacting their daily lives.
This is unlikely to harm the baby, but if a woman loses weight during pregnancy as a result, there is an increased risk of the baby having a low birth weight.
It is different from illness during pregnancy – often called morning sickness – which is normal and affects eight in 10 pregnant women. For most, this stops or improves around weeks 16 to 20.
Meanwhile, HG may not get better at this point and may persist until the baby is born.
Symptoms of HG include prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, and low blood pressure.
Dehydration increases the risk of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis), but this is rare.
It’s not clear what causes the condition, or why some women get it and others don’t.
Some experts think it is related to the changing hormones in the body that occur during pregnancy.
And there is evidence that it runs in families and that women who suffered from it during their first pregnancy are more likely to develop it in any subsequent pregnancies.
Women suffering from HG may be given medications to improve their symptoms, such as anti-nausea medications, vitamins B6 and B12, and steroids.
Some women need to be hospitalized if their nausea cannot be controlled with medication at home.
They may need fluids and anti-nausea medications given through an IV.
“Well done,” said the princess, telling her, “Louis has a Darcie in his class.
The Princess attended the session as part of her Shaping Us campaign to highlight how every child in Britain can get a better start in life.
Kate’s session, attended by seven children with a range of needs and conditions including social communication difficulties, autism, complex needs and Down syndrome, is run by Kent County Council at the Orchards Center in Sittingbourne.
Practitioners trained by the National Portage Association, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Britain this year and oversees 110 services across the country, were also on hand to help.
The princess, who flew to Sittingbourne by helicopter, played with the children and chatted with staff and parents.
When she arrived at the outing, she opted for her smart Zara blazer, which she previously wore while supporting the England men’s football team at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
She combined the statement tweed jacket with a camel sweater and dark trousers and finished her look with a pair of practical Boden pumps.
Instead of her usual bouncy blow-dry style, the princess put her hair up neatly, allowing her trendy bangs to fall loose around her face.
Later in the day she met with parents and their children, as well as some of the frontline professionals who provided the service, to learn more about portage and how it supports families on a daily basis.
It’s all part of Kate’s Shaping Us campaign, which the princess launched in February this year.
Kate kicked off the ‘Shaping Us’ initiative, which she described as her ‘life’s work’, to a glitzy reception earlier this year.
The project is a long-term project for the princess, starting with how a child develops and the importance of the formative years.
It will ‘explore in more depth the importance of a child’s social and emotional world’ and the meaning of relationships, environment and experiences.
The multimedia campaign is part of a major campaign by the Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood, founded by the Princess in June 2021, to raise awareness of how our early years shape our lives.
It will take at least five years and is described by a spokesperson for Kensington Palace as the princess’s ‘life’s work’.
The Princess spoke passionately about the campaign in an open letter published in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, setting out her plan for ‘Shaping Us’.
She wrote the impassioned plea on her laptop as she prepared to launch the campaign, which begins with a week-long publicity blitz including last night’s event at BAFTA.
Reports from the Early Childhood Center have shown that the first five years determine future well-being more than any other stage of development, with our brains growing faster than at any other stage.
It also hopes to ‘break the cycle’ for parents who have had difficult childhoods themselves.
Palace officials say the idea for the project started before Kate became a mother.