- Monica Vega from Colombia gave birth to a baby whose twin was growing inside her abdomen.
- This rare, but not unprecedented, type of birth is known as “fetus-in-fetu.”
- Once the newborn was delivered by c-section, she then underwent surgery to remove the partially-formed twin inside her belly.
In February, a Colombian woman gave birth to a baby whose twin was growing inside of her abdomen. Umm, whaaaat?!
Simply put: the newborn had her own little one too, albeit only half-formed sans-brain and heart, inside of her belly—an example of a rare (but not unprecedented!) type of birth known as “fetus-in-fetu,” which is thought to occur in about one in every 500,000 births, reports The New York Times.
Originally, docs thought that the fetus had a cyst on her liver. But that all changed when the mother, Monica Vega, visited Miguel Parra-Saavedra, MD, a high-risk pregnancy specialist in Baranquilla, Columbia. Parra-Saavedra was able to see that the believed-cyst was actually a tiny infant who was “supported by a separate umbilical cord drawing blood where it connected to the larger twin’s intestine,” per The New York Times—which is why the smaller fetus is frequently known as a parasitic twin.
FYI- this all went down at 35 weeks’ gestation, five weeks before full-term birth, which sets this fetus-in-fetu case apart from others that have, believe it or not, occurred over the past few years, such as those in India and Indonesia.
Anyway, two weeks later, at 37 weeks gestation, Vega gave birth via c-section to a seven-pound baby girl named Itzamara. And just one day later (!!), the newborn underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove the fetal twin, who measured at about two inches long, Parra-Saavedra told The New York Times.
While your brain’s trying to process all of this scientific craziness (no rush, it’ll take awhile), here’s some concrete info—and good news!—that you can definitely understand: both mom and baby girl are doing well.
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