In a rare medical anomaly, a 37-year-old woman in France got the shock of her life after she learned that she was unwittingly 23 weeks pregnant with a baby growing inside her bowel. According to a case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the information came to light after seeking medical treatment for severe abdominal pain and bloating, lasting for 10 days. Medical experts performed a scan and disclosed that she was growing a "normally formed" fetus inside her abdominal cavity, which was positioned between the stomach and the bowel.
In the study, the doctors further described that the woman was having an ‘abdominal ectopic pregnancy’. It is a condition when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus and instead in the abdominal cavity. This condition mostly results in the loss of the baby. However, surprisingly, doctors in France successfully delivered the baby at 29 weeks without any harm to the mother. Later on, the newborn was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Within three months, the mother and her newborn child were discharged from the hospital after dealing with lots of complications. 1
As per a report by the New York Post, the chance of losing the baby in an abdominal ectopic pregnancy is as high as 90%. And if a baby survives, it has a one in five chance of having birth defects or brain damage. The doctor's efforts were remarkable, considering the potential harm to the mother. Because ectopic pregnancies can cause internal bleeding, tube rupture, or shock, symptoms often include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, dizziness, and weakness. Typically, it can also result in fetal death.
In this case, the pregnant woman received medical care in France. The doctors assured that they waited until 29 weeks gestation to give the baby the highest possible chance of survival. Then, using their skills, medical experts made an incision in the woman's abdomen. After that, the parent's baby was placed in neonatal intensive care, resulting in a stunningly successful delivery.
For the time being, this is not the first time doctors have found a fetus growing in an odd place. As per the New York Post, a pediatrician once took to social media to share a case report of a fetus growing in a woman's liver.
In the clip, Dr. Michael Narvey of the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba said, "I thought I had seen it all." He also added, "We see these sometimes in the abdomen but never in the liver. This is a first for me."
1. Guillaume Gorincour, M.D., Ph.D., and Malik Boukerrou, M.D., Ph.D., Abdominal Ectopic Pregnancy, N Engl J Med 2023; 389:e51. [Cited on 14, 2023] Available at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMicm2120220?query=featured_secondary
(Input from various media sources)