Normally we look to pregnant celebs for maternity fashion or baby name inspiration, but, in this case, Hollywood mom-of-four Tori Spelling provides some much-needed inspiration on how to cope with serious pregnancy complications.
What happened? The "Craft Wars" host had just given birth to her third child, baby girl Hattie, when she discovered she was pregnant again (Tori and husband Dean McDermott also have two older children, Liam, 5, and Stella, 4). The pregnancy was a surprise, but otherwise all seemed fine until, that is, Tori experienced cervical bleeding in her second trimester. An ultrasound showed that the cause: placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the opening of the cervix.
Placenta previa is a serious pregnancy complication, and, unfortunately, one of the more common problems encountered by some moms-to-be. According to the National Institutes of Health, placenta previa occurs in 1 out of every 200 pregnancies. Risk factors for the condition include close birth spacing, undergoing prior C-section, being pregnant with multiples, having an abnormally-shaped uterus, and smoking during pregnancy. What Tori experienced is a frequent warning sign of placenta previa: sudden, painless bleeding. Bleeding can occur as early as the 20th week of pregnancy but is more common during the third trimester (Tori was 20 weeks along when she was diagnosed). Other symptoms are similar to the signs of preterm labor, including regular, menstrual-like cramps, or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
Because placenta previa put her at risk for more bleeding, Tori was put on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. If you've been there—or are on bed rest right now—you know it's both a very scary and very boring place to be.
Tori made it through by staying busy designing her kids' clothing line, and resolving to one day help other women going through the same ordeal. "When I laid in that hospital bed for months during my pregnancy with Finn I remember saying to myself 'when!' my baby is finally born and we are both healthy I will share my story," Tori writes in her blog. "I will share my commitment to motherhood and strength with other mom warriors everywhere."
And what a story she has to tell! Delivered at 37 weeks via c-section, Finn Davey McDermott was born a healthy, happy bouncing baby boy. However, Tori's own health troubles weren't over just yet. Three weeks after Finn's birth, Tori's C-section scar ruptured and the new mom required emergency surgery. This complication may be related to Tori's history of c-sections—and according to a recent study, approximately 18 percent of women with many prior c-section births go on to experience this kind of major obstetric hemorrhage.
Despite all this, Tori pulled through and these days her health is great. Since going public with her pregnancy complications, she says the feedback from other moms has been overwhelming.
"The stories from the moms who also had placenta previa are beautiful and inspiring," she writes. "It's important to know we aren't alone. Today, a mom came up to me with her 5 year old daughter and said, 'Tori, meet my placenta previa miracle. She was born at 25 weeks and is the light of my life.'"
"The little girl was beautiful, happy, and strong," Tori continues. "I fought back tears as I hugged this woman who a day before had known me only as a celebrity. Now, we bonded over motherhood and our miracles."