Just 20 months into the job, Kate Middleton has already left a legacy.

By sharing with the world that she has fallen prey to the horrid clutches of severe morning sickness and is languishing in a royal hospital suite on an intravenous drip, she has blown open one of the last bastions of secret women’s business: that pregnancy can be a hideous affair.

While some might scoff at the preciousness of it, the princess taking to her bed, it is not much ado about nothing. Morning sickness, and its more insidious sister, Hyperemesis Gravidarum, can be debilitating, knocking recipients (1% of pregnancies) for six and leaving them unable to function.

Yet, they are required to. There is not much empathy for morning sickness, dismissed as a sign of weakness or ungratefulness, lamenting your queasy stomach when you should be celebrating the baby growing inside. Woman up! It’s all just part of the deal.


Don’t let the hockey stick fool you, Kate was likely holding back a good spew.


I feel for Kate. I’ve been there with a solid dose of HG, throwing up all day (the “morning” bit a complete misnomer) for the first five months of my first pregnancy. I ended up in casualty, twice, for injections to stop the incessant vomiting. I lived on Salada crackers and apples, throwing those up too. For an estimated 15% of women it gets so unbearable that they have terminated their pregnancies just to make it stop. I know several women for whom morning sickness was the deal breaker for having more babies. Charlotte Bronte, four months’ pregnant, died from it.

While Kate has bravely checked out of official duties and ‘fessed up, we commoners think we have to be stoic – developing crafty ways to explain our frailty and hourly vomits.

Gastro. That was my excuse. A long and vicious bout. I would time my vomits for the sport breaks while presenting the news. No such luck when I threw up on stage in front of a few hundred at a Woman’s Day function. Luckily someone passed me an ice cream container in the nick of time, as the lovely ladies mopped my brow with knowing looks. But none breathed a word about what the real diagnosis might be. Because you don’t.


Jacinta overcame horrendous morning sickness to bring her two boys, Jasper & Otis, into the world. 

There was a time when we didn’t talk about birth or even where babies came from in the first place. A woman would never own up to finding motherhood a struggle. Other bleak symptoms of pregnancy – swollen feet, heartburn, weight gain – are grist for the mill. But with morning sickness you are expected to just deal.

“I know how you feel”, my bloke said empathetically when I was in the thick of it. “I’ve done the Sydney to Hobart.” That was three days. This was five months. At least with offshore racing there is an end in sight.

Astoundingly, for a condition so crippling and potentially fatal, there is no cure or remedy. Apart from giving birth. I tried Maxolon, acupuncture and gnawing on raw ginger. I took time off work and lay in bed day and night sipping lemonade and hurling into a bucket, willing time away. I even resorted to a tapping technique downloaded off the internet.

Nothing worked. Not even the wives’ tale assurances that the sicker the mother the healthier the baby. At that point, so distracted was I by my own malady, the baby was the furthest thing from my mind.

They say Morning Sickness is a feminist issue because if men knew the half of it we’d no longer be suffering. But now that Princess Catherine has got it, things might change.

Just as she has breathed new life into bangs and coat dresses, we can only hope her spell of HG might be a clarion call. Women the world over would love her for it.




To the Future King or Queen

Pregnant Woman Gets Job. News?

For the Love of Midwives


*Jacinta Tynan is an author and a Sky News Presenter. You can visit her website here and follow her on Twitter: @jacintatynan.




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  • Reply December 5, 2012


    This is my first pregnancy and I was lucky enough to completely skip the morning sickness. (Got other weird symptoms instead). I can only imagine how awful that must be. On a positive note it’s lovely to see Jacinta on The Hoopla, always love her writing and her boys are gorgeous.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Yes, I too had debilitating morning sickness, which lasted 5 months – although Maxalon did provide some small relief. It’s absolutely hideous, and can hit you suddenly like a ton of bricks – one day I was tired but OK, the next I couldn’t stop throwing up.

    Some research is now pointing to a nutritional element, which is interesting. I wonder if Kate’s extreme thiness and (so they say) serious dieting has contributed to her illness? Just a thought.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    I did not have HG but I had nine months of morning sickness. All day, bl@@dy every day sickness. Doped up on Maxalon, admitted to hospital, omg.
    This sickness and my bipolar factors into my decision to have only one child.
    Jacinta, you are a braver woman than I.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    One small note – it was Charlotte Bronte who died from it, not Emily.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    I had morning (or should I say “all day”) sickness for the entire nine months of my pregnancy. The last day I vomited was the actual day I went into labour. I think I’ve heard every single ‘cure’ for morning sickness there is – and yet none of them worked. I also got to know the toilets at my work very well. It’s terrible though having to rush off to the toilet all the time – and clean up afterwards, because let’s face it the vomit doesn’t always go where it’s meant to! I think I spent more time in that toilets than I did at my actual desk. And while no-one said anything, I did feel that people felt it was unprofessional. It can be helped – and yet I think there’s a bit of judgement there. Although I should also say that some of my colleagues were lovely, with one of them taking me to see her naturopath and getting me all sorts of treatments – none of which worked, but at least she tried. She was someone without any kids either.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    I had this with my first pregnancy and was sick constantly right up until the day my son was born. He weighed 8lb 4 oz despite being three weeks early and was a lovely, easy to get on with baby. I was not sick at all when expecting my daughter until I was 32 weeks along when I developed appendicitis (you can’t win).
    I am a bit sad that people are bitching on Facebook about how “weak” Kate Middleton is for being in hospital for morning sickness. I am sure she would have done anything to avoid the publicity but she obviously needs the IV fluids and specialist care. Poor woman, they speculate about her fertility and now bitch about the way she is “handling” pregnancy. She can’t win, either!

  • Reply December 5, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Jacinta… you are so right… when I found mysef having trouble conceiving, the fertility doctor said the woman’s reproductive system is still by and large a mystery to us.
    If it was blokes who were getting pregnant…hmmm

  • Reply December 5, 2012

    Emma Collins

    I had hideous HG with all three of my pregnancies for nearly 6 months for each – each time I ended up on the Zofran wafers which brought it back to somewhat normal morning sickness so I could function. I have absolute sympathy for Kate – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    While I wasnt diagnosed with HG, I too had hideous morning/midday/evening/middle of the night sickness that in the end had me lose 13 kg 32 weeks when my twins were born prematurely. It took me 3 long years of endless, intrusive fertility procedures to concieve, but the mantra of “its all worth it” was only ok until about 14 weeks,when I realised it probably wasnt going to go away. It was a miserable, awful time.
    I couldnt do any housework (not that I’m complaining about that too much !!) because as soon as i would tilt my head downward I would vomit, I couldnt go to work on public transport because i would repeatedly vomit due to perfume, body odour or food smells. I used to carry around a little plastic fold-up dogs bowl that I could pull out in a second when the time came.
    And as for my pelvic floor…I think I must have vomited it out. Violent vomiting for 27 week straight (my “morning sickness” started around 5 weeks), plus carrying twins will do that to you !!
    I wish Kate all the best…its going to be a long long 7 months for her…and she is SO thin already.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    As I sit here on my lounge after 4 weeks of not being able to go into the office or function at even half capacity with chronic all day and night sickness. I still have an overwhelming sense of guilt that I feel sorry for myself as I am so sick and after 4 miscarriages I should be grateful that I feel this way. Sick is good right? Make it stop. Please…..

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    I always felt that we need an extra 9 months of maternity leave to cope with the pregnancy. No man would go to work under the conditions that women put up with whilst pregnant. The morning after I woke up after my first child, my first thought was, “I don’t feel sick any more!” Then, a second later, I remembered that I had a baby. Oh, the sheer joy of feeling “normal” again!! – – notwithstanding catheters, a morphine drip and all the other added extras that go with major abdominal surgery that is often glibly referred to as a Caesarian section as if it’s like having your toenails cut (mine was an emergency after 22 hours of unproductive labour). But to be rid of that awful nausea and sickness – I had forgotten what it felt like not to feel permanently sick.

  • Reply December 5, 2012

    mudhouse jane

    I was hugely lucky: the only problem was by early evening I NEEDED chicken and sweet corn soup. It was the birth and x months aftwerwards that was my problem. I love the comment re the Sydney to Hobart. My darling husband rang my parents midway through my long labour to tell them that it was the last grandchild they could expect as it was too stressful for him! He almost passed out while I was having a drip put in, and I still remember trying to keep my groans down to a dull roar so that he could have some sleep next to me in the hospital. Obviously I was delirious.

  • Reply December 5, 2012

    Shambolic Living

    I had it for both my pregnancies. The whole in hospital, on the drip, downing medication, feeling like you are going to die, it remains a horrific memory. Funny they say you forget the pain of childbirth, which may be so, but I don’t reckon you ever forget the misery of chronic morning sickness. I feel so sorry for Kate. Having to go through this with media camped at your door will be horrendous. I advised her to take to her bed and only re-emerge after delivery. To those who say “pregnancy isn’t an illness” have never had HG.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Both my girls had me hurling for 5 months. With my son – nothing, not a day of even slight queasiness. I can remember lying on my bed and thinking “oh, I can open my eyes, I must feel better then”!! Un-bloody-believable.

    Poor girl. I hope they leave her alone for a while.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    It bothered me yesterday that there seemed to be very little in the way of concern for a young woman in hospital puking her heart out. It sounds dreadful. I was fortunate to suffer only mild queasiness with my pregnancies, but I have a dear niece who was severely morning sick throughout her pregnancies and was hospitalised several times. It was hellish for her and I know she would empathise with the stories woman have told here, and with Kate Middleton too.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    All you mothers who have suffered from HG deserve HUGE medals. Ordinary morning sickness was bad enough!!

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    I also had HG for my entire pregnancy, and it was horrendous. I had countless visits to hospital, drips, medication (maxalon did nothing for me), ginger, acupuncture, etc, etc.
    My biggest problem was the lack of empathy or even attempted understanding from family/friends. I was constantly made to feel like I was exaggerating or being a drama queen, ‘everyone gets morning sickness’ was the standard mantra.
    My HG was only alleviated by an emergency c-section at 32 weeks (due to Hellp Syndrome – severe pre eclampsia). Rachel, I so know the feeling of waking up the following morning and being so shocked at not feeling sick anymore.
    I sincerely hope that Kate’s HG is only short lived, and she gets some relief very soon.

  • Reply December 5, 2012

    The Huntress

    Yep, there is no way in hell I would go through another pregnancy and morning (try all day) sickness is one of the major reasons. I vomited and vomited and vomited. Nothing could make me stop. I was fortunate enought to be working in a pharmacy at the time and my sympathetic pharmacist gave me free access to maxalon. I religiously took maxalon 3 times a day and I still vomited incessantly. I once asked my pharmacist (and still great friend) what would happen if I didn’t have all this maxalon at my disposal. He was pretty certain I would never have left the loo at all – not that I did much anyway.

    I absolutely hated being pregnant – everyone bangs on about it being a time of joy and wonder whereas I only ever felt sick and miserable. I ended up with pre-eclampsia in a small country town with my obstetrician arguing with the hospital director that he HAD to open theatres to allow me to deliver or we’d die. I always remember the moment when my son was taken out of my abdomen and I felt my lungs and stomach drop back into place – I took a deep breath of air for the first time in months (I struggled with breathing when I was pregnant, fo some reason) and I rejoiced to myself about the sickness going to be over.

    I have so much empathy for ANYONE going through pregnancy and all I hope for the princess is that she is offered enough privacy to feel sick and miserable in private. The last anyone wants at this time in their life is public intrusion.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Yes I called it “all day sickness”, had it for 6 months every day with my first pregnancy and 5 months with the second. I felt pretty wretched but it was so worth it. I also needed to sleep my head off day and night – no way I could have held down a job for those months – would have required a bucket on the desk. I am normally very active and fit and a doer, so I wondered what had struck me. The end results were wonderful and as the saying goes “this too shall pass”. My grandmother apparently put her feet on the floor to get up each morning and promptly vomitted and spent the 9 months ill all day so I had it “easy”.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Time for Kate to have her revenge on the paparazzi, she can vomit on them. That should make them nervous.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Yes, totally agree – normal morning sickness is just so bad, so awful, that those who suffer from HG deserve to be honoured as the courageous women they are. I suffered terribly from morning/afternoon/evening/all night sickness for four months, and it did my head in. When I spoke to my doctor about the horrors I was going through – constant nausea (all day long) to be replaced by a migraine-like headache at about 4pm in the afternoon – he said “it’s all part of being pregnant”. That was it. Not even “you poor thing”. Just, basically, move ON lady! And, yes, like so many posts here, I finally woke up one day and thought, ‘hmm… something’s different… wonder what it is? Oh yeah… I don’t feel SICK!!!’. But that ‘glow’ (the aftermath of the horror) only lasted about a week, before my legs swelled up like tree trunks and I could hardly eat for the heartburn. And, then, when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I got a terrible flu that made me cough and cough until I … yes… you guessed it: wet my pants!! I couldn’t go out in case I embarrassed myself – but, looking back on it, I’m sure people would have just thought my waters had broken or something if I’d pee’d in public!

    As you can probably imagine, I only have the one child.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    And, yes, the lack of concern for the Duchess of Cambridge is startling. So many news reports just glossed over the so-called ‘morning sickness’, and did not even provide its true name. She’s got HG people!! She’s very ill. It’s a great opportunity to raise the subject and provide some education to the condition and how many women suffer from it etc etc. As you say, Jacinta, women (and their babies) can die from it. Let’s not treat it so flippantly.

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Any ideas and research about causes of HG and morning sickness~ aside from being pregnant? Hello to all those kids who were once known as “thalidomide babies” whose mums had morning sickness….

  • Reply December 5, 2012


    Oh I had terrible all day sickness too. So did Mum, Nanna and Great Nanna. My husband, Mum and I were teaching in a remote community at the time and I was so lucky that they were there to look after me. And my boss was great as his wife had suffered from it too. Some mornings I vomited before I even got out of bed, I could barely stand up in the shower and would barely keep anything down all day. Maxalon x 3 a day let me sometimes keep food down. It was the worst time of my life. AND we had booked a trip to the US before I was pregnant and my morning sickness started 6 days into the 3 week trip @ 5 weeks pregnant. I spent the entire time in hotel bathrooms! I couldn’t even hear an American accent whilst I was pregnant without a wave of nausea washing over me! 15 kilos lost as well. But my baby boy was born and he was perfect and healthy so I can’t complain now. But hearing other women’s stories kinda gives me a bit of relief, to know I wasn’t alone. I still think twice about going in for round 2 though.

  • Reply December 6, 2012


    I didn’t quite reach official HG but had rotten ‘morning’ (all day) sickness with all my pregnancies for several months. Stuff the 3 months announcement etiquette – those around me were concluding that I had hepatitis! When I was pregnant with my first child, there was still a theory among health professionals that HG, instead of being hormone related, was due to the ‘woman subconsciously rejecting the fetus by attempting to vomit it out’. As a few readers have noted, ‘if men got HG………..’

  • Reply December 6, 2012


    I’m blessed not to get sick during pregnancy. The coverage by the media was horrible- so much focus on her being “not sick enough while playing hockey” and blithely describing it as morning sickness.

    Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, birth and our reproductive system are all so poorly understood – just women’s problems.

  • Reply December 6, 2012


    I have to admit when I first heard on the news that Kate Middleton had been hospitalised for what they were referring to as her ‘morning sickness’ my first reaction was “Harden up Princess!” then I read about HG and my hat is off to anyone who has gone through that.

    As someone who has not yet had children, it’s interesting that there are so many facets of pregnancy that no-one talks about until you are actually pregnant – as far as I was aware I could expect a little morning sickness for maybe a few months and then a clear run all the way through to birth… that’s the way it works. Ha, ha, ha.

    If I hadn’t seen a couple of friends go through pregnancy I would have been in for a series of awful shocks…

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