*Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, OK?
But an extremely rare condition actually causes a baby to be born pregnant. It occurs in 1 out of every 500,000 births, and its called “fetus-in-fetu.” The latest revelation of this happened to a baby born in Hong Kong. She was pregnant with her own siblings at the time of her birth, according to a new report of the infant’s case.
Dr. Draion Burch, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Pittsburgh, who goes by Dr. Drai was probably stunned when he stated, “Weird things happen early, early in the pregnancy that we just don’t understand. This is one of those medical mysteries.”
The World Health Organization considers a tiny fetus found within an infant to be a kind of teratoma (a tumor with tissue or organ components resembling normal derivatives of more than one germ layer), rather than a normally developing fetus.
The doctors who treated this particular baby girl wrote that rather than a teratoma, the tiny fetuses may actually be the remains of sibling twins that were absorbed during the pregnancy.
Missed in check-up
At first it was suspected that the newborn had a tumor, so the baby was referred to Dr. Yu Kai-man, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong. The mother’s prenatal ultrasound showed an abnormal mass that the doctors were unsure about. When the girl was close to 3 weeks old the surgeons discovered two fetuses between her liver and her kidney.
One fetus weighed 0.3 ounces (9.3 grams) and the other 0.5 ounces (14.2 grams) — corresponding to about 8 and 10 weeks’ gestation, the case report said.
Each of the babies had an umbilical cord that linked to a placenta-like mass in the girl’s belly.
Now of course the only reasonable explanation researchers can give as to why…how, an infant is born pregnant (because we know she could not have conceived!) is that the girl herself was originally one of triplets. Then, for some mysterious reason, the two smaller fetuses were absorbed into the body of the remaining child.
Maybe the strongest of the three?
The fetuses would likely have still been alive and growing when they were absorbed into the surviving baby’s body. Once there, however, their development couldn’t proceed normally, Burch said.
“They need placental flow and all that other stuff to really grow,” Burch told Live Science.