The recent birth of the 4.1kg (9.1lbs) girl in the Altai region of Siberia is to be the subject of a paper in a forthcoming medical journal. Medics say it is virtually unprecedented for successful full term births from such abdominal pregnancies, and the new born ‘miracle baby’ has been described as one in 625 million because of the rarity.
Healthy Veronika – her name means ‘faith in victory’ – is shown on pictures with her 31 year old mother who has not been identified. The baby was 56 cm (22 inches) in length at birth.
The woman, who came to Siberia to flee shooting in the civil war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, had minimal checks during her first pregnancy, possibly for religious reasons, and doctors only understood her almost unique condition the day before surgery to deliver the child.
From a scan ‘shocked’ medics realised the baby was not in the womb but the abdomen.
Surgeon Vladimir Borovkov, deputy head doctor at Altai Regional Prenatal Centre, said: ‘Most likely, the baby was conceived naturally. But the egg was implanted in an untypical place. The baby was growing outside the uterus.’
Dr Borovkov said: ‘There are not more than a dozen such cases in the world. Abdominal pregnancy happens and is not so rare, but the cases when the child survives at full term are almost unique.’
Another doctor Dmitry Erin, in charge of blood transfusion, said: ‘This surgery had a high risk.’
The mother said: ‘I wanted this to go the natural way, without the interference of other people. With my husband, I did not think it is necessary to go to the doctors. We have our own views.
‘I did not want to have scans or take pills. We thought we would call the doctors only when my contractions began. I felt the baby moving inside me and I was sure that all was normal. It was my first pregnancy and I was certain that it should be like this.
‘But when the time came and there were no contractions, I decided to check. After the scan I was urgently sent for surgery.’ She thanked the doctors for bringing her through the life-threatening surgery.
Another doctor in the Barnaul team, Marat Zhazhiev, said: ‘We understood the surgery was a success when the delivered baby girl began to scream. It seemed to me there was nothing more important than this scream.’
In 2014, a woman in Tanzania gave birth to a healthy baby at 32 weeks. Her fertilised egg initially implanted in her fallopian tube from where it was expelled, allowing it to implant again in her abdomen, it is believed.
In the Barnaul case, doctors are now seeking to understand the cause of the baby growing in the abdomen.