In a rare occurrence, a woman from Maharashtra has become pregnant for the 20th time, doctors said on Monday.
The 38-year-old woman from Beed district, who has had 16 successful deliveries and three abortions so far, is now seven months’ pregnant, doctors said.
Each time, she delivered a single child and five of them died within a few hours or days of delivery, while 11 have survived, doctors said.
All the three abortions were when she was around three months pregnant, they said.
Hailing from the nomadic Gopal community, Lankabai Kharat was spotted by local health officials who were stunned to learn about her being pregnant for the 20th time.
“At present, she has 11 children and at the age of 38, is pregnant for the 20th time,” Beed district civil surgeon Dr Ashok Thorat told PTI.
When we learned about her pregnancy, she was taken to the civil hospital and all required tests were conducted. So far the baby and mother are safe. She has been given a medication course and instructed on hygiene and other practices to avoid infection,” another doctor said.
Thorat said, “This would be her first delivery at a hospital. All the earlier deliveries were performed at home. To avoid any health risk, we have advised her to get admitted at the local government hospital for the delivery, scheduled in two months.”
Kharat hails from Kesapuri area in Majalgaon tehsil of Beed district. “She belongs to the Gopal community, which generally begs or engages in some daily wage or small-time jobs. They keep shifting from one location to another,” an official from the Beed district collectorate said.
A woman’s uterus, the organ within which the fetus develops, is a muscle, and each successive pregnancy stretches that muscle, the doctor said.
As a result, after a woman has had many pregnancies, the muscle has a hard time contracting after the placenta the organ that connects the fetus to the mother’s blood supply separates, he added.
This creates a risk of massive bleeding and because the uterus has been weakened by successive pregnancies, drugs to cause this contraction are typically less successful, he said.
Scar tissue from past pregnancies within the uterus can cause problems with the placenta and this can create additional risks, including premature birth, he said.