Every year 1,000 women in the UK hit by the same pregnancy sickness that afflicted Kate Middleton are aborting their child because they fail to get any help, a study has claimed.
About 10,000 women a year are affected by the debilitating hyperemesis gravidarum – a severe form of morning sickness which causes constant vomiting, crippling weakness and dehydration.
A range of treatments are available for the condition, which Kate Middleton suffered from during both her pregnancies.
But, according to researchers, GPs tend not to prescribe them following the thalidomide scandal 60 years ago. Thalidomide was prescribed for morning sickness, but led to birth defects.
The study, by the Pregnancy Sickness Support, found that half of sufferers received no treatment at all.
And of these, it claimed one in ten had had an abortion because they were unable to cope with it.
Some told researchers they felt they had no choice but to terminate the pregnancy because they had to look after other children or had to work to pay the bills.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 33, was admitted to hospital after suffering when she came down with the illness.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is common, affecting around 15 per cent of all pregnancies. However, in its extreme form – where a pregnant woman is admitted to hospital or suffers the condition throughout her pregnancy – it is much more rare.
It is much more serious than the nausea commonly experienced by expectant mothers.
The condition is thought to be caused by elevated levels of ‘pregnancy hormone’ HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which increases after conception.
A range of treatments are available for hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness, which Kate Middleton suffered from during both her pregnancies
Leila Hanna, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London and BMI The Sloane Hospital, told MailOnline during the Duchess of Cambridge’s first pregnancy: ‘The condition is extremely common in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
‘It is associated with the changes in hormonal levels in the body, where the pregnancy hormones are quite high and it is the effect of those on the expectant mother.
‘If anything it is associated with a normal, healthy pregnancy. Every so often, in extreme cases it is necessary to scan the mother to see if she could be expecting twins.
‘In twins expectant mothers experience twice the hormones, and so often twice the sickness.’