Woman with two wombs has twins just a month after giving birth to her first baby
One month after giving birth, most women are beginning to find their feet as new mothers. But what if you gave birth to two more children just 26 days after having your first baby?
This is exactly what happened to one young woman in Bangladesh. Arifa Sultana gave birth to a baby in late February, but 26 days later was rushed again to another hospital after feeling pain in her stomach.
After examining her, doctors discovered that she was still pregnant with twins. An emergency Caesarean was performed and the two children, and their 20-year-old mother, were found to be healthy and were discharged with no complications after four days in the hospital.
Sultana had a condition called uterus didelphys, which means she has two uteruses. Uterus didelphys is a uterine malformation where the uterus is present as a paired organ when the embryogenetic fusion of the Müllerian ducts fails to occur. As a result, there is a double uterus with two separate cervices, and rarely a double vagina as well.
It occurs in one in a million women, according to the National Institutes of Health, but there are varying estimates as to how common the condition is. For it not to be discovered before the woman gives birth is even less common. According to Dr Sheila Poddar, the gynaecologist who performed the Caesarean, Sultana and her husband are "very poor" and she had "never had an ultrasound before".
"When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies," Dr Poddar told the BBC. "We were very shocked and surprised. I have never observed something like this before ... She had no idea that she had two other babies. We carried out a caesarean and she delivered twins, one male and female. The babies and her are all healthy. I am very, very happy that everything went well."
However, one gynaecologist in Singapore said uterus didelphys is "not as rare as people think".
"If you go for a scan beforehand it would be very obvious to see two sets of uteruses. But obviously, they are from a more rural area [and might not have access to ultrasound scanning]," Dr Christopher Ng of the GynaeMD Clinic told the BBC. "[It's likely that] three eggs ovulated and were fertilised at the same time during her fertile period which resulted in three embryos."
According to AFP news agency, Sultana said she was happy with her children but was worried that raising them would put a strain on her financial situation, given that her husband earns less than 6,000 taka (£53: $95) a month working as a labourer.
"It was a miracle from Allah that all my children are healthy. I will try my best to keep them happy," the father said.