A baby girl stunned doctors as she was found to have her own twin growing inside her belly.
Baby Itzamara was born on February 22 in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia, in a case of ‘foetus-in-foetu’ birth. The condition was reportedly first described in 1808, but is extremely rare.
Itzamara’s mother, Monica Vega, revealed doctors had detected something inside her baby’s abdomen when she was almost seven months pregnant.
According to Health Medicine Network, the mother’s specialist obstetrician, Dr Miguel Parra-Saavedra, managed to spot the unusual sight on a scan thanks to a 3D/4D ultrasound technique.
The site explains how one embryo connects to the mother via the placenta, while the other connects to its twin’s vessels. As the bigger twin grows – in this case Itzamara – the smaller twin becomes absorbed into their abdomen.
Colombian TV channel Los Informantes reports the mass spotted on the ultrasound was the twin, which was growing inside the baby’s stomach in its own amniotic sac. They had an umbilical cord, bones, and arms and legs.
— Los Informantes (@InformantesTV) March 18, 2019
However, according to local media the malformed twin did not have a brain or a beating heart. The foetus is said to have weighed just 14g, and measured 45 millimeters.
The situation reportedly occurs roughly once in every 200,000 pregnancies, as a result of late cell division.
If the embryo divides in the second week, the children are likely to become conjoined twins, but in this case the embryo split after the 17th day.
Doctor Parra-Saavedra explained similar occurrences have been discovered after a baby has been born, but he believes this particular situation marks the first time an example of foetus-in-foetu has been diagnosed during pregnancy.
I have never heard of anything like this in my entire life. I really did not expect this to happen.
To prevent the twin growing any larger and potentially harming Itzamara’s organs, doctors decided to deliver the little girl by caesarean at La Merced clinic, once Monica reached her 37th week of pregnancy.
Itzamara was delivered safely, but underwent keyhole surgery to remove the foetus from her tummy – just 24 hours after birth.
She’s now said to be recovering in hospital in a healthy condition, with barely any signs of damage or impact to her abdomen.
The doctors did a brilliant job of ensuring the baby girl was delivered and treated safely, especially considering how rare the condition is!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.