Woman With Two Wombs Gives Birth Twice In Four Weeks

by Julie Scagell
pregnant belly, pregnant woman with stethoscope on belly
Image via Getty Images/Jaime Grill

She gave birth to a single baby — and had twins less than a month later

A 20-year-old Bangladeshi woman got the surprise of a lifetime when, after giving birth to her first child, she delivered a set of twins just 26 days later.

Arifa Sultana is from a rural village, and never had an ultrasound leading up to her first birth. She successfully delivered her son at the Khulna Medical College Hospital and was released several days later. Almost a month later, she complained of stomach pain and was rushed to the Ad-din Hospital in the Jessore district. It was there she found out she was pregnant with twins despite having already given birth to her son, BBC reported.

If your head is spinning on this one, here’s how it happened — Sultana has a condition called uterus didelphys. According to the Mayo Clinic, didelphys is a rare congenital abnormality where the body can form two complete and separate uteruses. “In a female fetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes. As the fetus develops, the tubes normally join to create one larger, hollow organ — the uterus. Sometimes, however, the tubes don’t join completely. Instead, each one develops into a separate structure.”

You may be thinking how on earth could you not know you had such a condition, which makes sense in developing countries with access to healthcare, including regular ultrasounds for pregnant women. But in rural areas, women may have never been to a gynecologist or had access to any prenatal care at all before giving birth. Dr Christopher Ng of the GynaeMD Clinic tells the BBC, “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].”

There are times the condition can cause infertility, miscarriage, and premature birth, but many women with a double uterus have normal pregnancies and deliveries. In Sultana’s case, it resulted in babies conceived and grown in separate wombs.

“[It’s likely that] three eggs ovulated and were fertilised at the same time during her fertile period which resulted in three embryos,” Dr. Sheila Poddar, the gynecologist who performed the Caesarean told the BBC. “She did not get an ultrasound before the first delivery, so it was missed,” Poddar said.

“When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies,” Poddar said. “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 cesarean and she delivered twins, one male and female…I am very, very happy that everything went well.” The new mother-of-three and her newborns were discharged on March 25 after four days in the hospital.

Sultana said she was happy all three babies are healthy but is understandably concerned that three kids so close together will put a strain on her financial situation, according to AFP news agency.

Her husband earns less than 6,000 taka (just $69 a month) as a laborer, but he said he would “try his best.” “It was a miracle from Allah that all my children are healthy. I will try my best to keep them happy,” Sultana said.