In Brief

Woman with ‘secret uterus’ has twins one month after giving birth

Mother from rural Bangladesh had no idea she had two uteruses or that she was still pregnant

Baby's feet

A woman in Bangladesh has astonished doctors by giving birth to twins just one month after delivering her first child.

Last month, 20-year-old Arifa Sultana gave birth to a premature baby boy at a rural hospital.

Twenty-six days later, she began experiencing stomach pains and visited a second hospital for an ultrasound scan.

There, doctors realised that Sultana not only had a second uterus, but had also unknowingly been carrying twins in it.

The twins, a boy and girl, were born via an emergency caesarean section without complications just 26 days after Sultana gave birth to her son.

Dr Sheila Poddar, the gynaecologist who performed the caesarean, told the BBC that as Sultana and her husband were very poor and lived in a rural village, she had never had an ultrasound before her first birth - which is how she was unaware of her second uterus or the babies inside it.

“The babies and her are all healthy. I am very, very happy that everything went well,” Poddar said.

The condition is known as uterus didelphys, and those affected may experience no symptoms, although common conditions associated with didelphys include stomach pain and abnormal activity of the kidneys and bladder. There is also a higher risk of late miscarriage and premature delivery, and doctors often recommend caesareans to avoid risks during childbirth associated with the condition.

Didelphys is not uncommon – in fact, it affects one in 3,000 women. However, the odds of carrying a baby in both wombs simultaneously are one in five million.

“[It's likely that] three eggs were fertilised at the same time during her fertile period which resulted in three embryos,” said Singapore-based gynaecologist Dr Christopher Ng.

“I don't know how we will manage such a huge responsibility with this little amount,” Sultana, whose husband earns less than £53 a month as a labourer, told the AFP news agency.

However, she added that she is happy with her three children and that all of them are healthy.

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