Hyperemesis gravidarum, pre-eclampsia and placenta accreta each occur in only...

Hyperemesis gravidarum, pre-eclampsia and placenta accreta each occur in only about 4 percent of pregnancies. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Natalia Deriabina

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is again suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum with her third pregnancy. Kim Kardashian is reportedly using a surrogate to have her third child, after battling pre-eclampsia with her first pregnancy, and placenta accreta during both pregnancies.

How do these medical issues affect mom and baby? Dr. Elisa Felsen Singer, an obstetrician and gynecologist with NYU Langone at Huntington Medical Group, explains the three terms, each of which occurs in fewer than 4 percent of births.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is morning sickness so severe that the mom becomes dehydrated and may even start losing weight, Felsen Singer says. “She can’t keep fluids down,” she says. IV fluids may need to be administered, and the mom may need anti-nausea medication. Symptoms usually resolve by mid-pregnancy, and it doesn’t harm the baby, she says.

Pre-eclampsia entails high blood pressure brought on by pregnancy and can include protein in the urine, a sign that the mom’s kidney function is negatively affected, Felsen Singer says. “The cure is delivery,” she says — which could affect the baby if the birth is too premature. It is more common in the first pregnancy.

Placenta accreta occurs when, Felsen Singer says, “the placenta, instead of just adhering to the most superficial part of the lining of the uterus, adheres deeper into the musculature of the uterus.” Women who have had a previous C-section are at higher risk, because the placenta may adhere to the C-section scar, she says. A woman with placenta accreta must have a scheduled C-section, she says. “It could lead to hemorrhaging at the time of delivery,” Felsen Singer says. Depending on the depth that the placenta has reached, the mom could potentially need a hysterectomy at the time of the C-section to remove the entire uterus, Felsen Singer says. It can affect the fetus if it requires early delivery, she says.

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