THE Duchess of Cambridge and Grafton mum Nicky Zacek have something in a common: a pregnancy plagued by an acute morning sickness known as hyper-emesis gravidarum.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) affects less than 3% of pregnant women and can be overlooked and diagnosed as merely the typical morning sickness that comes with pregnancy.
HG, however, is an unrelenting and potentially very dangerous illness, as Ms Zacek experienced.
The illness began in the sixth week of her pregnancy, during which time she was vomiting as many as 50 times a day.
"It started at six weeks and left me debilitated right up until the birth," she said.
"For months, I couldn't even lift my head without vomiting."
The condition can be so severe that women can lose significant body weight due to malnourishment.
Ms Zacek lost eight kilos in the first three weeks of the illness.
It may also affect the woman's electrolyte balance, her kidney function, and create problems with the stomach and osophagus.
Unlike morning sickness, there is no easy home remedy that can lessen the symptoms.
"It was definitely past the point of ginger ale and dry crackers" Ms Zacek said.
She was given the same medication cancer patients are given to stop vomiting and was making regular day trips to the hospital to get rehydrated.
These frequent hospital visits are something the Duchess has already started to encounter, with the young royal being readmitted to hospital on Sunday only days after she was discharged.
Although it is a rare condition, there are many online communities that offer support and understanding and the diagnoses of the Duchess is a step in creating awareness of the illness.
"It helps to know that other people have gotten through this before," Ms Zacek said.
She has put the difficult pregnancy behind her and has been blessed with a beautiful, healthy little girl.
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