WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A newborn baby has been dubbed “Bubble Boy” after it arrived into the world still inside its amniotic sac.
Video footage shows the late preterm baby boy being delivered by emergency caesarean section at a hospital in China.
He was still floating inside his amniotic sac and did not breathe on his own for two minutes until he was cut out of the protective layer.
Two years ago, a mother in Pennsylvania gave birth to her second child in the car on the way to the hospital, while the child was still in its amniotic sac.
In the latest case, the boy was delivered at 36 weeks by emergency C-section at the Fujian Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital in Fuzhou on July 16.
He was conceived following successful IVF treatment, but his 36-year-old mother experienced abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding just weeks before her due date.
The baby was in breech position - bottom or feet first rather than head first. Doctors also found the umbilical cord was not attached in the centre of the placenta, a condition known as velamentous cord insertion, which can cause complications such as rupturing of the cord’s blood vessels.
As a result, the hospital’s head obstetrician, Dr Pan Mian, decided to deliver the boy “en-caul” - still inside the amniotic sac - in an emergency C-section.
The boy was born weighing 2.5kg (5.5lbs). The video shows the baby being removed from the womb while still in his amniotic membrane.
“Newborns usually cry shortly after being born as their respiratory system is introduced to the new surroundings,” said Dr Pan.
“But when this boy was born, still in his amniotic sac, it was as if he were still in his mum’s womb.
“It was not until doctors opened the membrane and cleared the amniotic fluid from his respiratory system that he began to cry - a full two minutes later than normal babies.”
Dr Pan added: “We opted for this procedure because preterm babies are weaker than full-term babies.
“As premature births are among the main reasons for infant mortality, an en-caul birth allows the newborn to be delivered inside the same protective membrane.
“This reduces moisture loss on the skin, avoids rapid temperature loss after a preterm birth, and decreases the risk of the infant being harmed during a C-section.
“Even if an en-caul delivery were unsuccessful, the baby could then be delivered via a traditional C-section, so it’s just one more option to have.”
Because the procedure was such a success, the hospital has delivered 10 other babies by en-caul birth in the past three months.