Doctors in India were left in a state of shock after a woman gave birth to a baby with three “heads” on July 11.
The woman, who was not identified, was taken to a health care facility when she began to experience unusual pain during the birth, according to a report by The Sun.
Doctors, as well as the woman’s family, were shocked to learn that the baby, a little girl, was born with three heads. Reports stated that the baby girl had two large protrusions that had formed at the back of her skull.
Doctors said the mother had experienced a normal pregnancy, which only added to the surprise. Both mom and baby, whose body was also underdeveloped, were taken to a nearby hospital that was better equipped to treat the baby.
“This is a very rare medical condition,” said Rajesh Thakur, Chief Medical Superintendent, at the hospital in Etah.
Oddly enough, this is not the first child to be born with these kinds of protrusions. The condition is a rare birth defect called encephaloceles. The Centers for Disease Control states that the condition occurs when the neural tube in the brain does not close during the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy as it should. A sac-like protrusion forms in the brain and results in an opening that can occur anywhere on the skull, However, most protrusions form at the back of the head, the top of the head, or above the nose.
An encephalocele at the back of the skull, like the one on the newborn in India, can cause nervous system problems and brain defects. The Sun reported that approximately 75 percent of the babies who do survive any surgery will have some degree of mental problems.
The CDC estimated that approximately 340 babies in the U.S. alone are born with the condition each year.
The exact cause of the condition remains unknown. However, families that have seen babies born with other defects of the neural tube, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, seem to be genetically predisposed to the condition.
Some smaller protrusions can be placed back into the brain through surgery. However, the baby born with two protrusions will need to have them surgically removed.
“We will perform an MRI scan and then perform a surgery to separate the ‘heads'” Thakur said.
The Sun reported that in March, a baby survived a procedure to remove two encephaloceles from its skull.