Best Life: Placenta accreta, saving moms and babies

Best Life: Helping moms to be with placenta accreta

HACKENSACK, NJ (Ivanhoe Newswire)— About 10,000 babies are born every day in the United States. One-third of those babies are delivered by C-section. Experts say a sharp increase in C-section deliveries over the past decade may be the top reason for the spike in pregnancy complications called placenta accreta spectrum, or PAS. Placenta accreta can cause excessive bleeding and be lethal for both mom and baby.

Four-year-old James is Elyse Lovett’s miracle. After delivering older brother William by C-section in 2014, Elyse became pregnant again a year later. This time, her baby’s placenta began growing too deeply into the uterine wall. It’s a condition called placenta accreta.

“You go online, and you read that there’s a 13 percent chance that you’ll die from this condition, that you’re gonna bleed out,” recalled Lovett.

Elyse sought out maternal-fetal specialist Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, the Director of the Center for Abnormal Placentation.

“No mother should ever fear childbirth. I think that’s just wrong,” shared Dr. Al-Khan, MD.

Placenta accreta has quadrupled since the 1980s, going from one in 1,250 pregnancies, to one in 272. Doctors say previous C-sections are the number one risk factor for the condition. Dr. Al-Khan and his colleagues monitor women throughout their pregnancies, deliver babies by C-section, and then sometimes remove the uterus. While a traditional C-section usually takes forty minutes, these complex operations take several hours.

Dr. Al-Khan explained, “We were spending now, about eight to 12 hours, methodically dissecting everything, or perhaps doing staged a surgical intervention.”

Dr. Al-Khan delivered James at 32 weeks and repaired damage to Elyse’s bladder. Two months later Elyse was up and running.

“It’s such a precious gift to just be able to be with your child, hold your child, have a miracle child, and really say that you and your child are survivors and warriors,” expressed Lovett.

The National Accreta Foundation suggests mothers search out hospitals with maternal-fetal specialists having experience with placenta accreta, and neonatal intensive care units in case the baby needs specialized care after delivery.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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