Mira Sorvino gives birth to “Miracle Baby”

Mira Sorvino and husband Christopher Backus are celebrating the birth of their third child, Holden Paul Terry Backus.  The 8 pound 12 oz boy was born to the couple on June 22.  Sorvino’s pregnancy and delivery were difficult, but as she told People Magazine:”As soon as they placed him in my arms I knew it had all been worth it. He is my miracle baby. With everything that threatened this pregnancy and both of our lives, he came out of it completely unscathed: perfectly healthy, beautiful and wonderful!”

Sovino’s pregnancy was plagued by a condition called placenta previa, where the placenta is placed low in the uterus (womb), close to the cervical opening. The placenta is the organ that nourishes the fetus as it grows in the womb. It is not uncommon for the placenta to attach the lower wall of the uterus early in pregnancy, however over the time, the growth of the uterus moves the attachment of the placenta towards the top of the uterus, leaving a clear path for delivery. In about one in 200 pregnancies, the placental attachment does not move as much as it should and can partially or completely cover the opening to the cervix. The most common symptom of this is sudden painless vaginal bleeding at the end of the second or beginning of the third trimester.  This can be associated with cramps as well.


Treatment depends on various factors:

  • How much bleeding is present
  • Whether the fetus is developed enough to survive outside the uterus
  • How much of the placenta is covering the cervix
  • The position of the fetus
  • Whether the mother is in active labor

If labor is not present, the bleeding is mild, and the baby is not in any distress, the mother will be put at bed rest. If there are a few weeks left before the due date, there is still a chance that the placenta will move high enough to allow passage through the birth canal.  If the placenta is still covering the the opening at the time of delivery, most physicians would elect to deliver the infant by C-section. Complications  of placenta previa include premature delivery (an any health conditions associated with that) and major hemorrhage (bleeding) in the mother or fetus.

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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