This just-born en caul baby being “unwrapped” from its birthing sac proves that growing and birthing a baby really is a ridiculously amazing feat. How do we even do it?! Back pats all ’round.
View this post on Instagram
Unwrapping a baby 💖 What a way to welcome this little miracle into the world! This is what we call an ‘En Caul’ birth. An En Caul Birth (ECB) is one in which the baby is born entirely inside the fluid-filled amniotic sac (seen in only about 1/80000 births). Most ECB's births are premature, & some doctors have observed that this type of birth can protect a newborn from the mechanical pressure of overly strong uterine contractions. It has been suggested that En Caul C-section deliveries might be advisable for extremely fragile premature babies. This little guy is seen still breathing through the mother's placenta! There have been cases where infants born in a complete caul have survived up to 25 minutes of extra uterine life inside this intact sac! Apart from the presence of the unbroken amniotic sac, En caul C-section deliveries also differ from conventional C-sections in that the incision in the mother’s abdomen is made in a different place. This method, in addition to reducing the incidence of pressure-related injuries to premature newborns, also may reduce the incidence of asphyxiation in premature infants. Seeing moments like this captured can really put the blessing of life into perspective for all of us! 📸 @fertilugo
“Unwrapping a baby”
This clip was shared on the Female Wellness Instagram page – a Norway-based profile that focuses on women’s overall health. The caption posted alongside the video gives a rundown of amazing facts about en caul births, and how this gentle arrival can benefit babies’ health and promote better overall outcomes for mums too.
“Unwrapping a baby. What a way to welcome this little miracle into the world!” the post begins, before explaining just how special and rare this kind of delivery is.
During an en caul birth, a baby is lifted from its mothers’s uterus, still neatly snuggled up in their amniotic sac. They are completely contained, as they were in utero, and it’s jaw-dropping stuff. Wikipedia tell us that this amazing phenomenon occurs in “fewer than 1 in 80,000 births”, so it’s hardly surprising that when these rare births do happen, we sit up and take notice.
Caul and en caul babies, however, are not sitting up and taking notice..! Many remain tucked up in the amniotic sac, still surrounded by amniotic fluid, limbs folded in and placenta still attached. #SoCosy
Caul vs En Caul
Caul babies are delivered with part of their amniotic sac covering their face or body. These babies – born with a physical connection to their life in utero – are sometimes referred to as being born with a veil or shirt or helmet. Different parts and different amounts of the birth membrane can attach itself to a baby in various ways in a caul birth.
En caul babies, however, remain completely contained in their amniotic sac after birth. Doctors or midwives will then pierce the membrane and the baby is freed, getting its first experience of the outside world – the relief of having some extra room to move.
Most of these very rare “en caul” babies are premmies, and experts say that ultimately planning “en caul” deliveries for very early babies – and leaving them in their amniotic sac for a little longer after the birth – could result in much better outcomes for vulnerable infants.
Gentle delivery, indeed. How amazing!