Baby Born After Abdominal Pregnancy

When doctors at the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital wheeled in 30-year-old Meena for a caesarean, they thought it would be just another 15-minute procedure. But the team walked out of the operation theatre only three hours later, to announce the birth of a 2.25 kg baby boy.

Though fatigued, they were smiling when they announced that the mother was doing well. This baby, the doctors said, is the country’s second one born out of secondary abdominal pregnancy. Which means it did not develop in the uterus, but at the sigmoid colon, located at end of the large intestine, adjacent to the womb.

“It is rare to see secondary abdominal pregnancies. Only one in 10,000 cases is a secondary abdominal pregnancy. It is rarer to see such a foetus survive beyond 12 weeks. We went through several medical journals and literature. There are only 109 babies born in such a way globally, and just one in India. This is the second in the country and certainly the first in Tamil Nadu,” said hospital superintendent Dr Vasantha Subbiah.

Meena, from Cheyyar in Tiruvanamalai district, first came to the hospital on October 12 for a routine check up.

“She was 37 weeks pregnant. She told us that she had come to Chennai to visit her relatives. Investigations did not reveal anything abnormal. There was no unusual complaint from her. She had delivered a girl 15 years ago. We missed the diagnosis of secondary abdominal pregnancy because the amniotic sac, in which the foetus develops, was healthy when we did the tests,” Dr Vasantha said.

But when the patient came to the emergency unit two days later with severe pain and diminished foetal movements, doctors found the abdomen tender and tense.

“That’s when we moved the patient for an emergency caesarean. We did not know it would turn into a fully-fledged surgery,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Dr Sarala. The doctors removed the abdominal sac and called the hospital’s general surgeon to arrest the severe bleeding.

“They could not locate the placenta. The fallopian tube on the right side was also missing. I performed the internal examination per vaginum and located the placenta in the colon. That’s when we knew it was a secondary abdominal pregnancy,” said general surgeon Dr Kaleel Rehuman.

The doctors then carefully removed the placenta. The paediatric team then reported the birth of a baby boy.