Parenthood has not come easy to Kim Kardashian.
As the reality television star, fashion plate and mother to daughter North explains in a new interview with C Magazine, getting pregnant has been a challenging and complicated process for her. Some of those complications may mean that her current, second pregnancy will have to be her last.
“I had this condition called placenta accreta,” she tells interviewer Amanda de Cadenet.
A little bit later she continues “…they think I’ll have placenta accreta again, so if the placenta grows a little bit deeper than it did last time, then they are prepared to have my uterus removed, which is a little scary for me.”
While her wealth and celebrity grant her access to the best care available, that’s nonetheless an understandable fear. The prospect of any kind of emergency surgery can be unsettling for anyone, no matter their privilege or fame. And if the prediction that Kardashian’s placenta accreta will recur proves accurate, that prospect is very real indeed.
In that condition, the blood vessels and other structures that attach the placenta to the uterine wall—and in a normal pregnancy detach with relative ease—grow too deep. Removal can result in a life-threatening hemorrhage for the mother. In some more severe cases, preventing this may require a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) at the time of delivery. When Kardashian’s doctors tell her that this surgery may be necessary, they’re quite properly informing her of a contingency they’re likely to face.
Unfortunately, placenta accreta isn’t the only medical complication she has had to deal with when it comes to pregnancy.
“And I also feel lucky that as of right now, I don’t feel like I’m gonna get preeclampsia again,” she says elsewhere in the interview. That condition, which affects 5-8 percent of all pregnancies, is characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein loss in the urine. It requires close monitoring, and left unchecked can lead to both maternal and infant demise.
It can also cause the mother’s body to swell, which in Kardashian’s case made her the target of a great deal of very negative commentary about her physique as her first pregnancy progressed. Whether or not she has the ability to sense the condition recurring this time around (all pregnant women should receive comprehensive prenatal care and not wait around for symptoms of complications to develop, at which point things can be in a very dangerous state), it’s entirely understandable when she says she found the malicious critiques of her appearance hurtful. I can scarcely think of a grosser display of deep character flaws than body-shaming a pregnant woman, complications or not.
Truth be told, I’ve never had much of an opinion of Kim Kardashian either way. While no great fan of her husband’s (take it away, Shirley), I’ve never caught an episode of her eponymous television show. I’ve always found her celebrity more perplexing than bothersome, and am not sure I’d even heard her speak until her recent stint as a guest on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” where I actually found her rather charming. (Have at me on Twitter, public radio purists!)
But whatever one thinks of Kardashian, her husband, or her show, at the end of the day she’s just another human being whose body is undergoing frightening changes with potentially life-altering effects. While I have every confidence that proper medical care will keep her healthy in the end, the ramifications of having a body part surgically removed to prevent fatal blood loss would give anyone pause. I still have no plans to catch her on television, but I wish her and her baby the safest delivery possible under the circumstances. And if she ever considers being an adoptive parent in the future, we might even have something to talk to each other about.