Utah mom, doctor shed light on high-risk pregnancy diagnosis

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SALT LAKE CITY — One Salt Lake mom was diagnosed with a rare, high-risk pregnancy diagnosis — placenta accreta — that put her life and her baby's life at risk.

"I was so upset."

Katie Young was 20 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she found out about the diagnosis.

"I knew it was a new chapter in my book," Young said. "I knew it was a new fight."

Dr. Ibrahim Hamman at Intermountain Healthcare specializes in high-risk pregnancies. He said placenta accreta happens when scar tissue makes it difficult for the placenta to separate from the uterus, which could lead to massive bleeding.

"What was supposed to be a happy period in your life, you're carrying a baby, well, that baby was also coming with a package that is threatening your life," he said.

Hammad said placenta accreta occurs in 1 in every 500 births. While it's rare, one thing can increase your risk.

"The more you have C-sections, the more you are inflicting an injury into that inner lining of the uterus, and the higher the risk of having an accreta," he said.

After three previous C-sections, Young's risk was high.

The only treatment is a hysterectomy, meaning this was her last pregnancy.

"The hardest part, too, was being told I was done. I didn't get to make that decision for myself. In order to save your life, this is what we need to do," Young said.

After a difficult delivery, two years later, Young is healthy and so is her now 2-year-old son, Johnny.

"I'm so grateful I'm alive. I'm so, so grateful for Dr. Hammad and his team," Young said.

Hammad said he really emphasizes the importance of the 20-week ultrasound to diagnose an accreta. But he said if you have had a previous C-section, he recommends even earlier, like 18 weeks. The sooner the better for doctors to be able to intervene.


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Ayanna Likens
Ayanna Likens is an Emmy award-winning special projects reporter for KSL-TV.


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