Kate Middleton's severe morning sickness ‘increases risk of postnatal depression by THIRD’
SEVERE MORNING sickness like that experienced by Kate Middleton increases the risk of postnatal depression by a third, experts have warned.
The Duchess of Cambridge suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) in two of her three pregnancies, a condition that affects around one to two percent of women in the UK.
The study, by researchers from Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust found that nearly half of the women who suffered with the condition also suffered from antenatal depression.
It also found that 30 per cent had postnatal depression.
Morning sickness during pregnancy is one of the most common reasons for hospitalisation and can go on until the baby arrives.
In some cases women can suffer dehydration, weight loss and can be bed bound – often not working for weeks on end.
Published in the BMJ Open, the study also found that in women without the condition, just six per cent experienced antenatal depression and seven per cent suffered postnatal depression.
Dr Nicola Mitchell-Jones, specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology and lead author of the study said the psychological impact of the condition is not taken seriously enough by both healthcare professionals and the wider public.
We need to do much more than simply treat the physical symptoms of HG; assessment for mental health support should also be routine for any woman with the condition
"Our study shows that women with HG are around eight times more likely to suffer antenatal depression and four times more likely to have postnatal depression.
"Some women in the study even had thoughts of self-harm whilst suffering HG. These figures are shocking and should be reflected in the treatment women receive.
"We need to do much more than simply treat the physical symptoms of HG; assessment for mental health support should also be routine for any woman with the condition."
The experts recruited 214 women across three London hospitals who were in the first trimester of pregnancy.
This included Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital and St Mary's Hospital (both part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust).
Half of the women were recruited to the study after being admitted to hospital with symptoms of HG.
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is much worse than the normal morning sickness experienced during pregnancy.
Unlike regular pregnancy sickness, HG may not get better by 14 weeks and for many needs hospital treatment.
Sufferers may be sick numerous times each day and be unable to keep food or drink down, which can massively impact their everyday life.
Sickness may not clear up completely until the baby is born, although some symptoms can improve at around 20 weeks.
HG is unlikely to harm your baby, but can cause you to lose weight during your pregnancy, so there is an increase in chance your baby will weigh less than expected.
What are the symptoms?
Sufferers of hyperemesis gravidarum will experience more extreme nausea and vomiting than typical morning sickness.
- prolonged nausea and vomiting with some women being sick up to 50 times a day
- weight loss
- dehydration – sufferers can’t keep fluids down, if you're drinking less than 500ml a day, the NHS recommends you seek help
- ketosis – a serious condition that results in the build-up of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine
- low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing
Another smaller group were then recruited through a midwifery-led antenatal clinic.
The researchers stated that none of the women had been treated for mental health conditions in the last year and that they were assessed for their psychological wellbeing in the first trimester – and then again six weeks after giving birth.
The result showed that of the women with HG -49 per cent experienced depression during the pregnancy – compared to just six per cent in the smaller group.
In the smaller group seven per cent had postnatal depression compared to 29 per cent in the HG group.
Of the participants with HG, the study found that over half of them had to take four weeks or more off work during or after pregnancy.
While the researchers highlighted that the study found no direct link between HG and maternal-infant bonding, research has shown that it can have a negative effect on the bond a mum and baby share.
The researchers stated that eight of the women who participated in the study and had HG terminated their pregnancies, despite originally saying they wanted to keep the babies.
Dr Mitchell-Jones, who also suffered from HG in her first pregnancy in 2018 said HG may have played a role in those decisions which she said “is heartbreaking”.
Speaking of her own experience she said: "I was in and out of hospital, spent nearly six months in bed – but I was lucky enough to have a supportive employer and family.
“Many women can't afford that amount of time off work or are stay-at-home mums with young children to care for.
"Too often their partners, relatives or work colleagues are not providing the support they need because they fail to understand the severity of what these women are going through. We need to educate them, as well as healthcare professionals."
Dr Mitchell-Jones added that she hoped the findings of the study would change clinical guidelines as to how women with the condition are treated.
Source: Read Full Article