James Van Der Beek’s announcement that his wife, Kimberly Brook, suffered a miscarriage was even more devastating when he revealed she nearly died. A top OB-GYN explains why this may have happened.
Kimberly Brook has shared in the past that she’s suffered several miscarriages. But the one she experienced on November 17 was different. Kimberly, who is married to actor and Dancing With The Stars alum, James Van Der Beek, revealed that she not only sadly lost the pregnancy, “I almost lost my life,” as well. While she didn’t go into detail about the harrowing experience, the couple confirmed that she was, at some point, rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized. HollywoodLife spoke to a top OB-GYN to get insight on how a miscarriage could turn deadly, like Kimberly’s almost did, and what pregnant women should do if they suspect they’re in danger.
“The ways a miscarriage can turn fatal for the mother are primarily through hemorrhaging, with loss of a large amount of blood rapidly, resulting in hemorrhagic shock. And, secondly, due to sepsis from an septic spontaneous abortion (a clinical term for miscarriage, ” says Felice Gersh, M.D., an award-winning OB/GYN and the founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine. “Infections typically occur when some pregnancy tissue is retained during the miscarriage process. The uterine cavity becomes at risk of infection from ascending pathological microbes from the vagina colonizing the uterine lining. If the infection becomes severe, there is a risk that the bacteria can enter the blood stream causing sepsis and septic shock, resulting in organs throughout the body shutting down. Fortunately, this is rare.”
Kimberly and James have not said what caused her specific miscarriage, or how she nearly lost her life. However, she did say in her announcement that, “at some point, I can dig into the details with you guys about what happened in the emergency room.” Dr. Gersh explained that there are multiple factors at play when it comes to miscarriage, as well. “The further along a woman is during the pregnancy, the higher the probability of a large blood loss, due to the larger quantity of products of conception (the pregnancy tissue) which needs to be eliminated, though the possibility of hemorrhage exists at any stage of pregnancy. Fortunately, life threatening hemorrhages are uncommon.” Kimberly and James announced their pregnancy in October 2019; her due date was in April 2020.
Dr. Gersh stressed that life-threatening miscarriages are not common. “[Near-fatal miscarriage] is, fortunately, very rare in the United States. In many years of practice I have never had such an event occur with my thousands of patients, and know of none occurring with the patients of other OB/GYNs.” If you’re pregnant and suspect you could be miscarrying, Dr. Gersh provided key advice for what to do next: “The safest approach is for women to be aware of the risks. and to have a plan to get to the hospital if hemorrhaging occurs, or if signs of infection develop. Knowing the signs of a threatened miscarriage are important, and having an obstetrician you are working with early on in the pregnancy is important. I always recommend patients to begin pregnancy care early.”