Arifa Sultana, a Bangladeshi woman has given birth to twins almost one month after delivering a premature baby boy, her doctor told reporters.
Arifa Sultana, 20, gave birth to a baby in late February, but 26 days later was rushed again to another hospital after feeling pain in her stomach.
Doctors found she was still pregnant with twins in a second uterus, and performed an emergency Caesarean.
Her twins were found to be healthy and were discharged with no complications.
‘We were shocked’
Ms Sultana, who is from a rural village, delivered her first baby at the Khulna Medical College Hospital in Khulna district.
Just 26 days later, she complained of stomach pain and was rushed to the Ad-din Hospital in Jessore district on 21 March, Dr Sheila Poddar, the gynaecologist who performed the Caesarean said. Some media reports put the date as 22 March.
“When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies,” Dr Poddar said.
“We were very shocked and surprised. I have never observed something like this before.”he had twins in a second uterus.
It is unclear why she might have chosen to go to a different hospital.
According to Dr Poddar, Ms Sultana and her husband are “very poor” and she had “never had an ultrasound before”, in the run up to her first delivery.
“She had no idea that she had two other babies,” said Dr Poddar. “We carried out a caesarean and she delivered twins, one male and female.”
The 20-year-old and her newborns were discharged on 25 March after four days in hospital.
“The babies and her are all healthy. I am very, very happy that everything went well,” Dr Poddar said.
One gynaecologist in Singapore said uterus didelphys – the condition of having two uteruses – is “not as rare as people think”.
“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],” Dr Christopher Ng of the GynaeMD Clinic told reporters.
“[It’s likely that] three eggs ovulated and were fertilised at the same time during her fertile period which resulted in three embryos.”
Ms Sultana said she was happy with her children but was concerned that raising them would put a strain on her financial situation.
Her husband earns less than 6,000 taka ( $95) a month as a labourer, 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.”
A double uterus, uterus didelphys, often causes no symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic, and is present from birth.
Women who have a double uterus can still successfully have children but it could increase the chances of miscarriage or premature birth.
The condition affects about one in 3,000 women. However, the odds of carrying a baby in each at the same time are around one in five million.
In 2006 a British woman with a double uterus gave birth to healthy triplets in the first known case of its kind.
Hannah Kersey, of Northam, Devon, gave birth to a pair of identical twins from an egg that had implanted in one womb and then split, and also to a baby from a single egg in the other womb.
What is uterus didelphys?
Uterus didelphys, also known as a double uterus, is a condition where a woman is born with two uterus, to separate cervixes and sometimes two vaginas, though this is not always the case.
It occurs because in a female foetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes.
As the foetus develops, the tubes normally join to create one larger, hollow organ — the uterus.
Sometimes the tubes don’t join completely and each one develops into a separate hollow organ so the woman is born with two wombs.
It often only becomes noticeable after puberty and is diagnosed with a physical exam or an ultrasound scan.
In terms of physical anatomy, the two wombs are often slightly smaller than average in order to fit, though they can be as big as a ‘normal’ womb.
It also makes it possible to be pregnant twice at the same time – with a baby in each womb.
Some women are also born with two vaginas, although they can have sex and menstruate in the same way as people with just one.
‘They may know they have two and be able to find them, or they may not realise,’ Dr Leila Hanna, a consultant gynaecologist & Obstetrician at BMI The Sloane Hospital, told reporters.
‘It can be painful because there are two squashed in the same area, so sometimes we do an operation to join them together, but its not necessary.
‘They could also have abnormalities of their kidneys and the tube which bring the urine from the bladder.’
Women will frequently have a slightly higher risk of late miscarriage, premature delivery and bleeding during pregnancy.
Often Caesarean sections are recommended, to reduce the risk of complications.
There is no treatment or cure for the condition.
Image: Arifa Sultana, 20, and her husband, Sumon Biswas, from Bangladesh were shocked when they discovered they would be having twins just 26 days after their first child was born. Pictured, with their children