In February, a 20-year-old woman gave birth to her first child, a baby boy. Then, 26 days later, she gave birth to twins.
Arifa Sultana from Bangladesh has two uteruses, a condition called uterus didelphys. The new mom was not aware that she has the rare congenital abnormality until she was admitted for the second time this year to give birth to twins.
Mother With Rare Condition Gives Birth
"She came to the hospital complaining of lower abdominal pain," Sheila Poddar, the gynecologist who attended to Sultana at Ad-Din hospital in Dkaha, told CNN.
Sultana did not have an ultrasound during her pregnancy and, therefore, did not know that she was still pregnant after she had given birth to her first child. When she returned for abdominal pain four weeks later, she finally underwent an ultrasound and found out that she was having twins — a boy and a girl.
Dr. Poddar performed an emergency caesarian to deliver the babies. Sultana was discharged four days later with no complications.
"All three children are safe and healthy," said the gynecologist. "The mother is also fine."
Uterus didelphys occurs when the two small tubes that normally join and create one hollow organ — the uterus — remain separated while the female fetus develops. A woman who has two uteruses may also have to cervixes and two vaginas.
While the rare condition increases the risk of miscarriage or fertility problems, women who have double uterus more often have successful pregnancies.
It is not surprising that Sultana did not suspect that she has uterus didelphys because the congenital abnormality does not come with symptoms. Women who have similar conditions only discover it whenever they consult their gynecologists for repeated miscarriage or if a tampon does not catch their menstrual blood. In either case, the doctor would perform a regular pelvic exam or imaging test and find two uteruses.
The condition is estimated to occur in about one in 2,000 women. The gestation of twins is even rarer; it only occurs in about one in a million women.