With a tiny one in 80,000 chance of a baby being born snuggled in its amniotic sac, it’s no wonder we get excited when we glimpse this “en caul” phenomenon.
What is an “en caul” birth?
So-called “caul babies” who arrive in the world with parts of the amniotic sac or caul (also called the veil) still covering their face or body have it removed by a doctor, doula or midwife after the birth. This is sometimes known as being ‘born with a shirt’ or ‘born with a veil’.
Being tucked in the birth sac during labour and birth helps to protect the baby from contractions and makes for a gentler birth.
While most “en caul” babies are born early, experts now suggest that babies in danger of being born prematurely should be delivered “en caul” to give them a gentler start in life, and maintain the womb-like environment for as long as possible.
Here’s some examples of the amazing “en caul” ways some babies arrive in the world …
1. “This was such a pivotal moment for me as a birth photographer. Enjoy.” – Leilani Rogers
2. “There are many good luck superstitions tied to a baby being born in the caul! It’s certainly fun to capture on camera!” – Melissa Cate Photography
4. “Gorgeous baby born en caul.” – via Monet Nicole Birth Photography
5. “Just born ‘en caul’.” – via Monet Nicole Birth Photography
6 and 7. “Twins born ‘en caul’.” – by Birth Blessings Photography and Doula Services
Happy 1st Birthday T&M! 🎉👶🏼👶🏼🎉 Your birth was quick, peaceful, gentle, and filled with so much joy! It's a day I will never forget and am so honored to call myself your birth photographer. I hope you had an incredible celebration today! 💗💙 #twins #twinbirth #bornathome #borninwater #twinhomebirth #twinwaterbirth #bornencaul #encaul #encaulbirth #waterbirth #naturalbirth #naturaltwinbirth #BGtwins #twinstagram #birthwithoutfear #birthphotography #professionalbirthphotography #birthphotog #birthphotographer #SoCalBirthPhoto
8. “Within a few minutes a head started to emerge with a thick bag of water surrounding her. As my hands placed her on her moms chest, she was truly still between two worlds. My fingers grabbed the slimy veil that rest over her face. Pulling it back, I thanked her for letting me unveil her. This sweet baby laid on her momma, taking in her whole world. Not one cry for the first few hours following her birth. Just in complete awe of the life she was given.” – Lindsey Meehleis
After several calls of questioning real labor or not…. The 3rd baby dance finally starting producing real contractions. After a full night of sleep my phone beeped 10 mins after my alarm went off. "I think this is it… But I'm not sure". Thinking of the 405 gridlock… I started getting ready. Not even 10 minutes later I got a text that said…. "This is real, hurry" I never knew the true meaning of urgency until I started speeding through traffic as a midwife. I ran in their back sliding door. You could tell she had crawled from where she was to the side of the filling pool. Her next wave started and all my midwife ears heard was pushing. I grabbed my essentials and threw them close by. With a few more inches of pool water, I got her in enough to at least have the relief of the water against her bum. Another wave, more pushing. My two partners quietly snuck in and like ninjas finished setting everything up. Within a few minutes a head started to emerge with a thick bag of water surrounding her. As my hands placed her on her moms chest, she was truly still between two worlds. My fingers grabbed the slimy veil that rest over her face. Pulling it back, I thanked her for letting me unveil her. This sweet baby laid on her momma, taking in her whole world. Not one cry for the first few hours following her birth. Just in complete awe of the life she was given. ❤️ #borninthecaul #undistrubedbirth #firstmoments #homebirth #waterbirth #lifeofamidwife #lifeisamazing #gratefulheart #simplybirth
9. “A rare image of a baby half born in her caul.” – by Birth Photographer Morag Hastings
A rare image of a baby half born in her caul. Facebook has banned me twice for this image in the last week. I am currently serving my 7 day sentence for an image that normalizes birth and does not show any vulvas. #caul #homebirth #normalizebirth #FbStopCensoringWomen #appleblossomfamilies #birthphotographer #birth #waterbirth #encaul Feel free to repost with proper credit. ❤️
10. “How amazing is this baby en-caul? Did you know your waters don’t always have to ‘break’? If left alone, the amniotic sac and membranes will release whenever it is ready, or not at all.” – posted by The Birth Space.
How amazing is this baby en-caul!! Did you know your waters don't always have to 'break'? If left alone, the amniotic sac and membranes will release whenever it is ready, or not at all. For me, that was just before I was in transition. It was the most amazing feeling of instant relief as the amniotic fluid splashed ALL over the floor – just like in the movies. How did your waters break?
11. “Baby was born en caul! Truly an amazing thing to witness” – Kate Murray Birth and Life