Babies being born pregnant might seem like something out of science fiction or a dystopian horror novel.
But a baby boy in Mumbai was recently born pregnant with his own twin brother.
During the pregnancy, doctors had noted an unknown mass attached to the baby.After birth, Dr. Bhavna Thorat scanned the baby to figure out exactly what the mass was.
It turned out to be the newborn’s twin, a 7 cm growth that doctors think may have been enveloped during pregnancy.
The “pregnant” baby appears to be a rare case of fetus in fetu, where a fetus becomes enveloped by its own twin. One theory about the reason for this is that as the babies grow in the womb, the host twin grows around the parasite twin.
It’s called the parasite twin because it relies on its twin’s blood supply to survive.
Fetus in fetu is fairly uncommon, occurring in only 1 of 500,000 live births.
But this case was especially unusual because of how well-developed the twin was: the growth had arms, legs, and even a brain.
Dr. Bhavna was able to see the tiny arm and leg bones, although the growth hadn’t yet developed skull bones.
The doctors had to operate immediately; fetus in fetu can be extremely dangerous to the host twin, especially when the parasite twin is well-developed.
The doctors operated successfully to remove the “parasite twin.” Thankfully, the newborn is doing well after the surgery, and there have been no further complications.
This isn’t the weirdest “fetus in fetu” situation that’s ever happened. 45-year-old Jenny Kavanagh found a long-haired parasite twin in one of her ovaries.
And these “pregnancies” can form anywhere in the host twin. Doctors recently found a “fetus in fetu” inside the brain of his three-day-old brother!
Thankfully, modern-day science means that most of these unusual births don’t end tragically. “Fetus in fetu” births are just a reminder that real life is weirder (and sometimes more terrifying) than sci-fi.
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