The human body is truly mystifying, as this stranger-than-fiction double-birth story proves.
CNN reports that Arifa Sultana, a 20-year-old woman in Bangladesh, gave birth to a baby boy in late February.
According to Dr. Sheila Poddar, a gynecologist at Ad-Din Hospital in Dhaka, the delivery was completely normal. The new mom and baby (who was Arifa’s first child) were released from another hospital in Dhaka following the birth.
But only 26 days later, Arifa was admitted to Ad-Din Hospital for what she thought was simply lower abdominal pain. In reality, she was in labor again — this time with twins. Doctors made the unexpected discovery when they performed an ultrasound.
So how was this possible, and how did doctors miss it during the first birth? As it turns out, the Bangladeshi woman is among a rare group of females who are born with two separate uteruses. Neither she nor her doctors had any idea of the existence of her second uterus.
“It is not very common to have two uteruses. When the uterus develops, it comes from two tubes, and those tubes fuse together. For some women, the fusion does not occur, and the dividing wall does not dissolve,” Dr. S.N. Basu, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at Max Healthcare Hospital in New Delhi, explained to CNN.
Dr. Poddar performed a C-section to deliver Arifa’s twin babies, a boy and a girl.
“All three children are safe and healthy,” the gynecologist said. “The mother is also fine.”
Arifa’s two uteruses went undetected because she didn’t get an ultrasound prior to delivering her first child. Her firstborn boy was conceived first and grew separately from the twins.
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