- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 7:00AM
Warning this article contains content that may disturb.
This incredible video offers a glimpse into a rare kind of birth: a baby being born in the amniotic sac.
Fewer than one in 80,000 babies are born 'en caul', when the bubble of protective membranes which encases a baby in the womb does not break during birth, according to the
Normally, the sac, which protects the baby from movement during gestation, breaks and at the start of labour.
But in cases like this c-section in Asia, which was filmed and posted on Instagram, the doctors had to physically break the sac with their hands after pulling the baby out.
The women delivering the baby exclaim as they start to pull the entire amniotic sac and placenta from the woman's belly.
For a few seconds, the baby's face presses against the edge of the fluid-filled sac in the dimly-lit operating theatre.
Eventually, one of the doctors breaks the sac with her fingers and they all exclaim as they lift the baby out of the sac.
Since en caul is so rare, few obstetricians have seen an en caul birth. Usually, in c-section births, the scalpel breaks the sac during the operation.
WHAT IS THE AMNIOTIC SAC?
The amniotic sac is the bag of fluid which encases the fetus. It is made of two membranes, the amnion and the chorion.
Though thin, it is robust, holding an increasing amount of fluid throughout gestation, including the fetus's urine.
WHAT IS AN EN CAUL BIRTH?
It is distinct from the more common - though still rare - experience of being born 'with the caul', which means that part of the sac is wrapped around the baby's head like a helmet.
In those cases, obstetricians are trained to make a small incision to allow the baby to breathe, then carefully pull back the sac to avoid injuring the face.
In an 'en caul' birth, the main priority is to break the sac to allow the baby to breathe, since they no longer have oxygen supplied from being inside their mother.
IS IT RISKY?
In general, there is no increased risk of damage or suffocation among en caul babies - in fact, the membranes of the sac protect them from a lot of the trauma.
However, in some instances, there is a risk if part of the sac wrapping around the baby's neck.
The superstitious even believe it is a sign of good luck, and there was an old wives' tale that said en caul babies were clairvoyants.
It is said that Roman midwives even sold cauls on the black market because lawyers believed it would give them good luck.
This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.