This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.
After giving birth, you'd normally expect a minimum of nine months before being able to do it all over again. But in a rare case, a woman in Bangladesh has reportedly given birth to not one, but two babies just one month after a prior birth.
How is that possible? Well it turned out that Arifa Sultana, a 20-year-old woman from Jessore district in the country’s southwest had two uteruses, and had no idea she was still pregnant after the first child was born.
In late February, Arifa birthed her first child, a premature boy. Then a month later, after experiencing intense abdominal pains, she was rushed to Ad-din Hospital to have an emergency caesarean. "When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies," Dr Sheila Poddar, the gynecologist who performed the caesarean, told the BBC. "We were very shocked and surprised. I have never observed something like this before.”
As to how this occurred, Dr Poddar put it down to a kind of hyper-fertility. "[It's likely that] three eggs ovulated and were fertilised at the same time during her fertile period which resulted in three embryos," she said.
According to Singaporean gynecologist Dr Christopher Ng, women with two uteruses are not so rare. This condition even has a name—Uterus didelphys—and it’s usually diagnosed via ultrasound. But what’s unusual in this case is that Arifa received no ultrasound during the course of her pregnancy and therefore didn’t realise how many babies she was carrying.
Of course, disadvantage seems to be the subtext through all of this. This was underlined when Arifa told the AFP she was worried about the sudden financial burden her family was facing. “I don’t know how we will manage such a huge responsibility with this little amount," she said.
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