Ask any mum who's experienced hyperemesis gravidarum if it's the same as morning sickness, and be prepared for a dirty look (if you're lucky!). The extreme pregnancy sickness condition hit the headlines recently after it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering in her third pregnancy. And when the royal was criticised online for missing Prince George's first day of school, it was too much for one mum to bear.
Hyperemesis survivor Ashlee Price-Smith was hospitalised on five separate occasions throughout her pregnancy, and on her worst day vomited no fewer than 60 times (she kept count – that's what you call multi-tasking!). When she read misinformed readers' comments suggesting Kate was weak for staying at home on George's first school day, she was understandably furious.
I loved interviewing Ashlee about her experience for this week's Love Sunday (Sunday People supplement). When I heard how she used to wake at 4am for her first vomiting session, then throw up every subsequent twenty minutes on the dot, I couldn't help but share her frustration.
Hyperemesis is a severe complication of pregnancy affecting 1-2% of pregnant women, unlike the fairly normal pregnancy sickness (also called morning sickness), which up to 80% of pregnant women experience (thanks www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk for the stats!).
And as Ashlee can attest, hyperemesis is absolutely nothing like morning sickness. The mum of ten-week-old Jacob only had to look at the scales to know that – she lost a total of a stone and a half throughout her entire pregnancy.
So next time you hear someone mention the Duchess's 'morning sickness' or slate her for missing engagements, spare a thought for Ashlee and every other hyperemesis survivor who's been unable to get out of bed, let alone be papped taking their child to school!
Big thanks to Ashlee for sharing her story with me and helping to raise awareness of hyperemesis. Here's the online version of the interview if anyone fancies a read - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/pregnancy-made-mum-sick-60-11208498
Also, did you or anyone you know experience morning sickness, or even hyperemesis, during pregnancy? I'd love to hear in the comments below!