Mother raises awareness of placenta accreta

CHRISTINA Mathewson was seven weeks pregnant when the bleeding started. It was days before doctors could tell her if she had lost her baby.

Mrs Mathewson, of Rocherlea, said an ultrasound scan about a week later showed she had miscarried a baby, but its twin was still alive.

``Doctors weren't able to say whether I would keep bleeding and lose the other baby, or if I'd go on to have another baby,'' Mrs Mathewson said.

Mrs Mathewson, who already had six children, went on to have another 10 major bleeds throughout her pregnancy.

Doctors diagnosed Mrs Mathewson with placenta previa _ a condition in which the placenta is implanted in the uterus, impinging on or covering the uterine cervix.

It was also suggested she might have had placenta accreta, in which the placenta invades the uterine muscle, and can invade other organs.

Mrs Mathewson said doctors weren't able to confirm that she had accreta until she woke up on life support more than seven months into her pregnancy.

She had been rushed to hospital after another bleed, with doctors performing a caesarean section and emergency hysterectomy. Baby Marcella was alive and well, but her mother would have to endure another three surgeries.

Nine months on, Mrs Mathewson said life had returned to normal.

She said she had become president of the Hope for Accreta foundation's Australian chapter, in an effort to raise awareness and support other families affected by the condition.

She said she was also trying to garner support for blood donations, to make up for the 134 donations she received during her surgeries.

For more information on Hope for Accreta, visit www.hopeforaccreta.org. To donate blood as part of Hope for Accreta's club red group, visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/who-can-give/club-red/join-group.

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