Seriously – do you ever think about just how much our moms go through for their kids? A lot of times we think about all those years of commitment doing everything from baking cookies and sewing up superhero Halloween costumes to holding us while we cry at the end of just about any Disney movie. On top of that, they hold down careers and keep a roof over our heads (not to mention cool Star Wars toys to keep under that roof!)
But the whole thing starts way back when mothers carry their children for nine months. Imagine: on top of the standard challenge of pregnancy, you have to deal with a dangerous complication. It happens more than we think, even to big time celebrities - and they have to go through all that in the public eye.
Some of those famous ladies have opened up to share those experiences, inspiring the everyday folks who share their struggles. Before you start reading - get ready. Some of these stories are not for the squeamish. There are harsh medical issues involved, some terrible losses, and even near-death experiences. Our hats are off to these extraordinary ladies and to mothers everywhere for giving all they've got for their daughters and sons.
Here are 16 Stars Who Survived Dangerous Pregnancies.
16 Kelly Clarkson
As her chart-busting hit song says, “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.” Kelly Clarkson captured that sentiment perfectly in 2010. But could she have had any idea how true it would be when she got pregnant a few years later?
Unfortunately for the American Idol alumnus, she had a tough time not with one, but carrying both of her children. Dealing with an extreme form of nausea, Kelly vomited up to twelve times a day, sometimes needing regular IV use just to stay hydrated. It was such an awful experience, Clarkson had her tubes tied and got her husband to get a vasectomy. Tell us how you really feel, Kelly! She must really mean it now whenever she sings: “Never Again.”
15 Kate Middleton
Sorry, but there’s no better way to say it in this particular case – sometimes, pregnancy can be a truly royal pain in the butt. Yes, the Duchess of Cambridge herself, wife of Prince William, had a pretty awful time carrying both of her children.
The official name of the condition has a pretty fancy sounding name - Hyperemesis Gravidarum – and keeping in the tradition of her rarefied lifestyle, it only affects about 200,000 women worldwide (pretty small percentage compared to billions of moms out there). This actually sent Kate to the hospital, and forced the regal couple to announce their coming bundles of joy early.
It all ended well as both son George and daughter Charlotte have turned out to be happy little crown-wearing tykes.
14 Kate Hudson
Celebrities always have to deal with self-image, and while that serves to keep them in the public eye, it can become stressful to always worry about what you look like. Go to the café in dumpy sweats, and the paparazzi can put you up on TMZ in five seconds. Not wearing makeup? See you in People.
Now think about what it must feel like when these appearance-obsessed folks end up losing their hair and break out in serious acne. Well that’s exactly what happened to Kung Fu Panda 3 star Kate Hudson during her second pregnancy. Not only that, but she gained a lot more weight than when she carried her first child. Luckily, she worked hard and bounced back, and is still a very busy actress.
13 Salma Hayek
On the screen, she was the bloodthirsty vampire queen in From Dusk Till Dawn. In real life, actress Salma Hayek was a mommy who had serious trouble with her blood sugar while pregnant with her first child. Suffering from gestational diabetes – a condition which strikes about seven percent of all mothers and can lead to some serious complications – the Mexican starlet struggled through the trimesters.
As it happens, this condition is more common for ladies over 35 years old, which makes sense as Salma was 40 at the time. Fortunately, it’s usually a pretty easy disease to treat with just exercise and some dietary changes. In any event, Hayek gave birth without any serious problems, and delivered a healthy baby girl.
12 Gwyneth Paltrow
To us, she will always be Pepper Potts, the one person in the world who can keep Tony Stark on the straight and narrow for the Iron Man movies. But for two healthy children, Gwyneth Paltrow is a mother who has given more than many can stand to lose. Although Paltrow hasn’t offered up many details about it, she lost a third child to a miscarriage.
According to the actress, the experience was so harsh, she herself almost died in the process. Paltrow has said that she wants a third child but is concerned about repeating the same experience. Fortunately, Paltrow is still with us – unless she becomes one of Thanos’s victims in this year’s hugely-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.
11 Mila Kunis
Sometimes in her role as Meg in Family Guy, Mila Kunis has to babysit her animated baby brother Stewie. In real life, the Bad Moms star is a mother of two – but that’s not to say that it came easily to her. As with many pregnant women, Kunis had to deal with morning sickness. In her case, however, things got way out of hand. Extreme fatigue, to the point of not being able to get out of bed is bad enough. But Mila’s nausea became more than challenging at one point (she wouldn't say exactly how, but we believe her).
Both her children were delivered just fine, but in a recent interview, she said she won’t be having a third kid. We can't blame her!
10 Celine Dion
For years, Titanic singer and queen of Canadian ballads Celine Dion and her husband Rene had trouble conceiving, so she went through fertility treatments. The result? She successfully had her first son, Rene-Charles, through in-vitro in 2001. Nine years later, Dion got pregnant through the same means - this time with triplets. But tragically, during that term, one of the three babies was lost. As awful as that was, the other two children were delivered healthy and thrive to this day.
Dion’s losses continued later on, as her husband passed away less than six years after their children’s arrival. She’s a strong lady, even completing an album that same year. Eddy, Nelson, and Rene-Charles have one tough mom.
9 Mira Sorvino
Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino has been through a lot in her personal life - as revealed in the recent reporting on Harvey Weinstein's abuse and sabotage of her career.
The Mighty Aphrodite and Mimic star has four children, but for her third pregnancy, she experienced a condition called placenta previa. For Sorvino, the condition led to weeks and months of hospital stays and bed rest. She also had a successful delivery via C-section, which is a good thing for the doctors involved. After all, her father, legendary Goodfellas actor Paul Sorvino could have sent a mob-style hit out on them if things went wrong!
Sorvino's son Holden was born happy and healthy, and she later gave birth to her fourth child - daughter Lucia - in 2012.
8 Kim Kardashian West
Let’s face it – when it comes to all things Kardashian, one thing everybody can expect to see if a whole lot of drama. But beyond the conflicts the family members may instigate against each other, serious medical conditions can make things a lot more real. And so it was for Kim Kardashian West when she got pregnant with her first child, North, by her future husband and music legend Kanye West. She got something called placenta accrete.
Luckily, Kardashian West beat the issue and into the world came her adorable daughter, North West. In 2015, Kardashian West birth to another child - her first son, Saint. Her third child, born in 2017, was carried to term by a surrogate. Her youngest is called Chicago.
7 Mariah Carey
Yes, yes, we all know that Mariah Carey is reportedly not just a diva, but probably the most diva of all divas ever. The lady just exudes the perfect mix of amazing talent, serious glamour, and an unending stream of drama. Her acting career has ran the gamut from abject failure (Glitter) to Oscar-worthy success (Precious).
Regardless of who the mother is, there’s no such thing as overreacting when a pregnancy goes wrong, as Carey could attest to herself. After years of fertility treatments, she ended up carrying twins. In the process, she came down with preeclampsia. Fortunately, Mariah powered through the experience and gave birth to two healthy babies, Moroccan and Monroe, whose father is her then-husband Nick Cannon.
6 Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling, Beverly Hills 90210 actress turned reality TV star, has a family of five children with Dean McDermott. But during her fourth pregnancy with son Finn, complications arose when Spelling was struck with placenta previa. In Spelling’s case, this led to ten weeks in the hospital, plus another four months of bed rest. On top of all that, the child needed to be delivered via cesarean section – a procedure she underwent in her three previous pregnancies, and which could have actually brought the previa on. Regardless, Finn came out healthy and they now forever share a special bond. Spelling's fifth pregnancy thankfully went much more smoothly, and she safely gave birth to her youngest son, Beau.
5 Angie Harmon
Longtime Law & Order and Rizzoli & Isles star and Batman Beyond voice actress Angie Harmon went through anemia during her third pregnancy. She had already been through two pregnancies - daughters Finley and Avery in 2003 and 2005 - that were smooth sailing when she got pregnant with her third child. And if anemia wasn’t bad enough, she also suffered from a torn a disc in her back during the pregnancy. But it was all worth it as Harmon was able to safely give birth to her youngest daughter, Emery, in 2008.
Though she divorced husband Jason Sehorn in 2016, Harmon and her daughters Avery, Emery, and Finley continue to be a happy and healthy family to this day.
Indian superstar actress Kajol is one of the hugest stars of the exploding Bollywood film studio system. A member of an extensive family of actors and actresses working in Hindi cinema, the star has more awards for Best Actress in the Filmfare Awards (India’s version of the Oscars), beating everybody but her late aunt Nutan, with whom she is tied. But when it came to her first pregnancy, Kajol was unfortunately less lucky.
In 2001, Kajol suffered from a painful ectopic pregnancy, which led to a tragic miscarriage. Since that loss, however, she has bounced back and is now mother to two healthy children- daughter Nysa was born in 2001 and son Yug in 2010. Maybe they will even join their mother as part of the Bollywood royal family!
3 Camila Alves
While we don’t know all of the details of Camila Alves’ pregnancy issues, suffice it to say, it doesn’t sound good. The stunning Brazilian model, successful designer, and founder of Yummy Spoonfuls – who also happens to be married to Interstellar star Matthew McConaughey – went through a term with almost constant severe pain. Doctors could not figure out what was going on. But then when the baby came, performing a C-section for the delivery, the medical team found “all kinds of things in there” (according to Alves’ own words).
The good news is that the child came through okay, Alves is still gracing the world with her image and designs, and Matthew McConaughey was able to eventually do True Detective.
Oh, Queen Bey – haven’t you been through enough in this life? In the superstar singer’s HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, Beyoncé opens up about a lot of things, including that time she suffered a miscarriage. Calling it “the saddest thing” she ever went through, the “Baby Boy” diva kept this information from the public until long after it happened. She and husband Jaz-Z are extremely private about their lives.
Despite the loss, she went on to give birth to daughter Blue Ivy Carter, later followed by a set of twins named Rumi and Sir. Let’s not be surprised – one way or another, she was going to be a mom in the end. After all, if there’s one thing this tough lady knows about, it’s what it means to be Destiny’s Child!
1 Serena Williams
Sometimes pregnancy problems don’t happen until the very end of term – even up into delivery. That’s how it was for Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player of all time. She had already had nine relatively uneventful months carrying her daughter. And then came the C-section. During the procedure, her blood pressure dangerously dropped. The next day, she felt even worse, and having had suffered from pulmonary blood clots in the past, she alerted her doctors to that possibility. The medical team checked, and it turned out Serena was right. In essence, Williams saved her own life, and her beautiful daughter Alexis was born safely.
Surviving all that, Williams got herself back in shape and keeps chasing those Grand Slams like nobody’s business!
Do you know of other brave mothers? Share their stories in the comments.