Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Bouet of the University of Angers Hospital Center in France was astonished when he saw the above image of his pregnant patient at 22 weeks along. The baby's legs are sticking out of the uterus into the mother's torso on her side. It appears as if the baby had kicked a hole in the side of the womb! How could she suffer such a rupture without pain and bleeding?
“The fetal legs did not cause the rupture,” Bouet said. Instead, the woman’s history of five C-sections likely led to a tear, in the obstetrician’s view. Because of scarring from the previous births, parts of the uterus remained atypically rigid instead of enlarging during the woman’s latest pregnancy. The uterine wall ruptured when it was unable to expand, causing an inch-long tear (pictured above, marked by the arrows).
The mother was unaware of the rupture and displayed no symptoms. Women with uterine ruptures usually feel pain, Bouet told The Post, brought about by internal bleeding. But the hernia “compressed the walls of the uterine rupture,” he said, “and acted as a hemostatic effect.” That is, the position of the amniocele and baby legs plugged the rupture, preventing blood loss.
The parents decided to continue with the pregnancy, despite the precarious position of her organs, and the infant was delivered at 30 weeks. Six months later, the baby is doing well. Read more about the case at The Washington Post. -via Digg
(Image credit: The New England Journal of Medicine)