After spending the last two months of her pregnancy on bed rest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and receiving care for a potentially life-threatening condition called placenta accreta, an anonymous patient says the emotional challenges proved even more difficult than the physical ones. While enormously grateful to have one more child, she felt burdened by anxiety and stress.
Knowing she was at high risk for placenta accreta before getting pregnant with her third child, she sought guidance from Daniela Carusi, MD, director of the Brigham’s Surgical Obstetrics and Abnormal Placentation Program. The program is one of few nationwide providing highly specialized care to a large number of women with this condition, which can cause hemorrhage and require a hysterectomy.
“Women with placenta accreta continue to face obstacles after delivery, which can include prolonged recovery time, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychological difficulties that take a toll on the whole family.” —Daniela Carusi, MD
“Dr. Carusi listened to me and my husband and made us feel safe throughout my pregnancy,” says the patient, whose youngest child is now 5. “The only thing I felt missing was deeper support for my well-being. The nurses and doctors were kind, but there was too much to digest with staff constantly in my room. I needed a way to process my emotions while on bed rest.”
Wanting to help other women with similar experiences, the patient and her family members have directed a gift of $1.5 million through the Hess Foundation to establish a trauma-informed care approach to placenta accreta. With this gift, Carusi plans to integrate several enhancements, including adding a psychiatrist and care coordinator.
“Women with placenta accreta continue to face obstacles after delivery, which can include prolonged recovery time, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychological difficulties that take a toll on the whole family,” Carusi says. “This generous gift from the Hess Foundation, combined with their previous support of our program, is laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive vision for placenta accreta care.”
The patient adds, “We can’t wait to see what Dr. Carusi does with this program. Hopefully, these efforts will help mothers care for their babies with joy and love from the moment they are born rather than feeling overwhelmed by PTSD or anxiety. Providing mothers with mental health support will have a powerful, lasting effect on women and their families.”