Nursing one dead and another live foetus in her womb for close to three months, a 42-year-old pregnant woman defied all odds to give birth to a premature baby last week after running the risk of infection spread from the dead twin.
Chembur-resident Veena Gavli had undergone in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique to conceive a baby. Two eggs were placed in her womb, while one fertilised egg attached itself to the uterus, the second accidentally planted itself in the cervix.
“Cervical pregnancy is not rare, it is an abnormal placement of egg. But it can cause diagnosis problems. We usually give medication to end such a pregnancy,” said Dr Ganesh Shinde, head of the gynecology department at civic-run Cooper Hospital. According to experts, cervical pregnancy is usually aborted in the first trimester.
With the intention to abort one baby, Veena underwent embryo reduction at the end of 11 weeks of her pregnancy, using ultra sonography. While the foetus generally collapses and either gets absorbed by the uterus wall or naturally comes out of the body, in her case doctors found the foetus dead, yet attached and “getting nourishment” in the cervix.
“Even a month after aborting one baby, it continued to get blood supply from her body which is unusual,” said Dr Rajendra Saraogi, gynecologist at Nanavati Hospital. Veena approached him in the fourth month of pregnancy, after her dead foetus continued to stay in her cervix.
“When she was brought to us, the mouth of the uterus was open and we could feel the foetus. The dead foetus’ infection could have affected the other baby and she was bleeding profusely,” Saraogi said.
According to Veena’s husband, Mohan Gavli, they approached Nanavati hospital with the intention to abort the second baby. “Saving the other baby at that point seemed next to impossible,” Saraogi remembers.
The doctors then tried “conservation technique” and allowed the dead foetus to stay intact, while the live foetus continued to grow in the uterus. Veena and baby’s health was monitored daily through blood tests, sonography and regular check-ups. She even developed high fever during the subsequent months.
By the end of seventh month, she underwent a caesarean procedure to give birth to a pre-mature baby. Despite infection risks, doctors claimed her baby was born healthy, weighing 926 grams.
“We removed the dead foetus after caesarean,” Saraogi said. The week-old boy is currently in an incubator until his health improves.