A woman from Bangladesh was in for an unlikely surprise when she went to the doctor complaining of abdominal pain one month after she’d had a baby. After an examination, her physician discovered that Arifa Sultana, 20, was carrying twins in a second uterus. She later gave birth via a C-section.
As CNN reports, Sultana has a condition called uterus didelphys, which means that her womb did not develop as it should have when she was a fetus. Mayo Clinic notes that the uterus begins as two tubes that are supposed to merge by the time the baby is born. But women with uterus didelphys develop a separate chamber when these tubes fail to combine and this second uterus can have its own cervix and vagina as well.
According to Mayo Clinic, a woman can go for most of her life without knowing that she has the condition because there are no visible symptoms of it. This is likely what happened to Sultana. The fact that she’s from a rural Bangladeshi community with limited access to medical care would have also decreased her chances of finding out before she gave birth to twins from her second womb. Her gynecologist, Dr. Sheila Poddar, told CNN that she did not receive an ultrasound when she had her baby a month ago.
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Poddar told the BBC that she was amazed when she realized that Sultana was pregnant with the twins.
“When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies,” she said. “We were very shocked and surprised. I have never observed something like this before.”
Luckily the delivery of all of the children went well.
“All three children are safe and healthy,” Poddar said. “The mother is also fine.”
The father of all three children has called the surprise birth of the twins a miracle, the BBC reports. He has vowed to do his best to take care of them despite his limited income.
“It was a miracle from Allah that all my children are healthy. I will try my best to keep them happy,” he said.
Women who have two uteruses often have safe deliveries, Mayo Clinic notes, but the condition can also cause infertility and miscarriages. It is also pretty rare. CNN reports that only one woman in a million has it in the United States, based on statistics from The National Institutes of Health.