Reality TV star Kim Kardashian reportedly is facing a potential hysterectomy after she delivers her second child later this year due to a serious pregnancy complication called placenta accreta. OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton explains that unlike normal pregnancies in which the placenta easily can detach from the uterus after childbirth, placenta accreta results when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and remains firmly attached.
- Related: C-section delivery explained
“This is a major obstetrical issue,” Dr. Ashton says. The condition could lead to life-threatening hemorrhaging during childbirth, damage to the uterus and surrounding organs, and could affect future fertility.
Placenta accreta occurs in approximately one in 530 pregnancies and typically is diagnosed during the second trimester through routine ultrasound tests, Dr. Ashton adds.
According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for placenta accreta include being age 35 or older; having undergone a previous uterine surgery, including C-section; having placenta previa, meaning the placenta covers part of or the entire cervix; and having uterine abnormalities or scarring. Additionally, the risk of developing placenta accreta increases with every additional pregnancy.
Dr. Ashton explains that once the condition has been diagnosed, an extensive delivery plan should be coordinated to ensure the health and safety of the mother and child. She adds that surgical removal of the uterus may become necessary in order to save the life of the mother during childbirth.