TODAY   |  December 04, 2012

Duchess’ rare morning sickness dangerous?

NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman discusses Duchess Kate’s pregnancy and the acute form of morning sickness she’s suffering from that causes dehydration and weight loss.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> about this this morning, hyperemesis gravidarum, some people call it an extreme form of morning sickness but it's more than morning sickness .

>> an extreme form of morning sickness and affects up to 2% of babies. it's so sear that a lot of times instead of gaining weight the mothers lose weight and for someone as thin as the duchess, it means she loses weight and becomes severely dehydrated. her potassium and sodium levels start to shift and then have you to worry about the fetus and her overall health so the treatment is hospitalization, iv fluids , giving her drugs, and to decrease the nausea and vomiting and frankly bed rest.

>> i've met a lot of women who have had this and experienced it. it's just awful. what causes it, do we know?

>> hugely huge hormone shifts and the placenta puts out something called hcg and that's where the speculation comes in, two fetuses, putting out double the hormones. could it be that? some people are speculating a girl. i think the real downside here is that as we know most women who are pregnant want to get through the first trimester before they make an announcement but their hand was forced by this and the palace had to make an announcement.

>> when you talk about a woman, especially one as thin as kate, losing weight during the pregnancy, even in this early state, is there any risk to the fetus from this in.

>> yes and no. fetuses are really hardy, but what we know is fetal development requires good nutrition, especially in the first trimester so we don't want to see a woman lose weight , want to see her at least hold it. under the spotlight. the pressure on her will be not to gain too many weight in pregnancy. her doctors right now are urging her to put on some weight, gain a normal 20 to 30 pounds and get through this, and obviously we just want to see her get through the first trimester and then on her way.

>> very quickly, often this clears up in 12, 14 weeks, but some women experience it all through preg.

>> i -- usually starts six, seven weeks and can go to 20 weeks. if she is this sick this early it won't be a 48-hour bout.