“…Months earlier, when they decided to have a third child, Adam and Seeff never considered that Kiran and Misha might be left without a mother. “We had plenty of love and resources to give,” Adam says. “You just don’t think that you’re playing roulette with the stability of the older children’s lives.”
Adam’s situation, unusual as it is, reflects a growing problem in obstetric medicine. She had placenta accreta, in which the placenta, the organ that connects the pregnant woman to her fetus, attaches with dangerous tenacity to the uterus. Sometimes — as in Adam’s case — it grows through the uterine wall and invades other organs. Once vanishingly rare, with only one in 30,000 pregnancies affected in the 1950s, placenta accreta now hits around one in 500 pregnancies. Up to 7 percent of placenta accreta patients die of the disease. Scientists have linked the increase in cases to rising caesarean rates, but the exact mechanism of the disease — a conversation gone awry between the placenta and the uterus — remains profoundly mysterious.
Treatment is daunting: Doctors often must remove the entwined placenta and uterus immediately after delivery, a procedure that is both technically challenging for surgeons and potentially devastating for women who want other children. Such a surgery, a combined caesarean-hysterectomy, is difficult because the interior of the pelvis looks different just after birth than it usually does — the enlarged uterus has pushed other tissues out of their typical locations. Add to that a welter of blood vessels growing from the abnormal placenta, and the result is that, in spite of recent advances in the technology used to diagnose placenta accreta, the surgery remains unpredictable and challenging…”
. . . Read the whole article over at SM.Standford.edu.
Read about ICAN’s Accreta Awareness Month.