Virginia Beach mom who survived risky pregnancy gives back

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — You don’t often hear about women dying in childbirth, but the number is going up in the United States.

A Virginia Beach mom who survived a potentially life-threatening pregnancy condition celebrated her life Wednesday by giving back.

Raising five boys is a big job, with even bigger rewards. Katie Niehoff nearly missed it all.

“When I was pregnant with my last son, I was diagnosed with a very serious condition called Accreta,” Niehoff told 10 On Your Side’s Stephanie Harris.

It’s a serious condition where part of the placenta grows into the uterine wall. It can cause severe blood loss after delivery.

“During my delivery, I lost my body’s volume of blood and had to get 14 units transfused to save my life and keep my son safe,” she said.

AJ was born exactly one year ago, on August 10, 2015. To celebrate, Katie held a blood drive at Woodstock Elementary School
in Virginia Beach, where she works. The goal was to get those 14 units back.

Photos: Woodstock Elementary Blood Drive

Nearly everyone who rolled up their sleeves was a friend or family member who, despite witnessing the ordeal, still find it
difficult to comprehend.

“I was working in school teaching right up until I had my kids so I can’t imagine having to be in the hospital for three weeks,” Alicia Gordon said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that while rare, the incidence of placenta Accreta has increased to one in 533 pregnancies — which ACOG says is parallel to the increasing rate of cesarean deliveries.

Women at greatest risk for Accreta have damage, or scarring from a prior cesarean section.

“I don’t want to scare any new moms out there, but prenatal care is so important,” Niehoff said.

Niehoff credits EVMS and the American Red Cross for saving her life and her sons. This birthday blood drive is a gift she plans to give every year as a thank you.

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