Baby With Half A Head Born In India, Doctor Says Poor Diet The Cause

Savita Rani, 32, from Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, gave birth to her fourth child by vaginal delivery, but nobody was prepared for the baby’s grave health condition. The newborn girl only had half a head, bulbous eyes, and sadder yet, she did not cry, nor move like a normal newborn. The mother has three very healthy children and had a tremendously difficult labor and delivery, losing a lot of blood, but did survive. Sadly, the newborn baby girl did not. According to Daily News, the little girl died of heart failure just 48-hours after her birth. Unfortunately, news of the child’s condition got out in the area prior to her death, and the hospital was lined with people outside, hoping to get a glimpse of what they termed “The Miracle Baby.”

The mother is now home and grieving. Many internet users have expressed great disbelief and anger at what her doctor said was the cause of the baby girl’s deadly condition — he blamed it on the mother and her diet. Dr Kusum Lata, 30, a gynecologist at Sai Nursing Home, said the birth defect could have been avoided by eating a proper diet. It is unknown what the mother supposedly ate, or did not eat, that caused him to come to this conclusion.

“These complications occur due to incorrect and irregular eating habits of the mother during pregnancy. This is why we as doctors keep emphasizing on regular check ups of the women during pregnancy so we can try to guide the mother and hope to avoid such birth abnormalities. The baby’s eyes were so large that she was born with them already open because her head had not formed properly. She didn’t have normal movements like other babies when they are born — she wasn’t crying or moving.”

He then added that it was “a miracle” that she survived as long as she did and that her mother survived the ordeal as well, which may be what prompted the “miracle baby” name that local people gave her.

Internet users were outraged at the doctor’s comments and many were quick to comment that the baby appeared to have anencephaly, a condition of having no brain or a very small and abnormal brain form, which is not attributable to eating habits and is almost always fatal. On the Daily News article, a reader from France commented that the doctor was surely wrong.

“Bad eating habits? What a weird thing for the doctor to say. Was she eating radioactive food?”

That comment alone received over 2,000 likes, with many similar comments like it.

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According to NIH here in the United States, anencephaly is a very rare disorder in which the neural tube of the fetus does not properly form during weeks three and four of pregnancy, resulting in the absence of a brain, but there may be enough brain tissue or a brain stem that is functional to keep the baby alive after birth. Most, however, are stillborn, or die prior to birth. Only a very few continue to live for hours past birth. However, there is evidence that lack of folic acid in the mother’s diet can increase the chance of neural tube defects, including anencephaly.

However, that alone is a rare situation in the United States, as many processed foods are fortified with folic acid. Doctors urge all women of childbearing age to take folic acid supplementation in case they become pregnant. Often, the baby’s neural defect will have occurred before the woman realizes she is pregnant, so eating more foods with folic acid or supplementing with folic acid would be too late to avoid anencephaly.

[Image via Shutterstock]