A new image shows an "extremely rare condition" in which a woman's uterine sack was ruptured and her baby's feet are sticking out!
Before you panic that this could happen to you, it's important to note that the phenomenon was not caused by baby kicking, according to Live Science. Instead, a report about the image published in the New England Journal of Medicine explains how in this case, a 33-year-old woman developed a tear about 1-inch long in her uterus. Subsequently, her amniotic sac popped out, along with the baby's legs.
Although the condition looks rather painful, reportedly this mom-to-be (who was pregnant for the sixth time) didn't know anything was amiss until a routine ultrasound at 22 weeks. According to the report, she had had five previous C-sections.
Once she was made aware of the problem, she decided to continue her pregnancy with close monitoring; interestingly, she was not put on bed rest. Potential risks included the tear growing, which would put Mom and Baby in jeopardy of a total rupture and preterm birth.
At 30 weeks, the tear had doubled in size. The sac was protruding more and contained both the baby's legs and abdomen! Doctors decided to deliver the baby via C-section. Amazingly, he was born weighing 3 pounds, and six months later, is healthy. After the birth, the tear was repaired. No word on whether she can attempt another pregnancy or if she wants to!
Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Bouet, the lead author of the report, said this was the first time he'd ever seen a case like this. He noted only 26 previously-known cases, and suggested repeat C-sections were the likely culprit of the tear, in this instance. Dr. Bouet admits the tear didn't happen in the exact same place as this woman's C-section incisions, but it may have resulted from her uterine wall being weakened from the repeat procedures.
It is well-known that repeat C-sections carry risks, but so do VBACs (vaginal births after C-sections). Again, according to ACOG, although multiple cesarean births are associated with additional potential risks, what happened to this particular woman is exceedingly rare.
Yvonne Bohn, MD, OB/GYN at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Parents.com: "It is extremely rare. Usually the risk of rupture refers to during labor, but in this case the uterine wall was very weak from prior C-sections."
Dr. Bohn also told us, "The risk of uterine rupture increases exponentially with each C-section." And after three or four C-sections, the situation can get precarious.
If you are pregnant and have had one or multiple C-section births, talk to your doctor to understand all the implications for your individual health. Dr. Bohn adds if you are going to attempt a VBAC—which most doctors will only advise after just one C-section—you should always do so in the hospital under monitoring.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.