'Bubble Boy' born floating inside intact amniotic sac

A newborn baby has been born still inside an intact amniotic sac.

The boy was delivered via emergency caesarean in Fuzhou, East China in July. His mother suffered abdominal pain and bleeding 36 weeks into the pregnancy, and doctors discovered the baby was in breech - he was positioned to come out feet first.

Because the baby was also premature and had an unusual umbilical cord placement, doctors at the Fujian Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital decided to deliver him 'en caul', inside the amniotic sac. The fluid-filled sac protects a foetus in the womb, and typically bursts just before delivery in what's known as the 'water breaking'. 

The hospital's head obstetrician says an en caul birth keeps the baby safe during and immediately after birth. 

"This reduces moisture loss on the skin, avoids rapid temperature loss after a pre-term birth, and decreases the risk of the infant being harmed during a C-section," Dr Pan Mian told media. 

It's believed to have been the city's first en caul birth, and 10 more children have been delivered the same way in the months since. 

'Bubble Boy', as he has been christened by local media, didn't breathe for a full two minutes after birth. It was only when doctors split the membrane open and drained the amniotic fluid from his lungs that he started to cry. 

He weighed a healthy 2.5kg. 

It's extremely rare for babies to be born while still inside their amniotic sac, and is understood to be an almost one-in-90,000 occurrence. In January pictures of a Brazilian baby born en caul went viral on social media. 


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