A Greek physician delivered a newborn baby that was still floating in an intact amniotic sac. The astonishing photo was captured by Greek obstetrician Dr. Aris Tsigiris. This was a "veiled birth." and is extremely rare. As soon as the sac was ruptured, the baby began breathing Dr.Tsigiris, an OB/GYN from Marousi, the suburban city northeast of Athens, wrote that the healthy baby was delivered by cesarean section, still surrounded by the amniotic sac filled with placenta. He said this was an "ultra rare" occurrence, one which the baby felt and behaved as if it had not been born, though it had already exited the womb . "While it might seem alarming for a baby to be born surrounded by a watery bubble, Dr. Tsigiris said "there is no danger of the newborn drowning inside the exposed amniotic sac, since the placenta continues feeding it nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord."
Once the amniotic sac is ruptured, (a simple surgical technique called an amniotomy in which a thin hook opens the membrane), the baby immediately takes its first breath of air.
Dr. Tsigiris expressed his excitement when he saw the baby enclosed in its amniotic membrane, saying in Greek that sometimes "nature transcends itself, leaving even obstetricians speechless," and he went on to thank the Association des Sages Femmes du Cap Bon (Midwives' Association of Cap Bon) for their assistance.
As we know, during pregnancy, unborn babies float around in the amniotic sac, which is a fluid-filled membrane that nourishes, protects, and cushions them as they develop in-utero.
Once the pregnant woman goes into labor the amniotic sac usually breaks-this is generally referred to as the woman's "water breaking." The amniotic fluid gushes out of the birth canal, and this signals that the baby is on its way.
In rare occurrences, like this one, the amniotic sac doesn't rupture on its own and the baby is surrounded by all or part of the amniotic membrane. This type of birth is known as an "en caul, or "veiled," birth. According to BabyMed, less than 1 in 80,000 babies are born with a caul.
According to a 2010 study, Cesarean deliveries en caul might actually help protect fragile premature babies from pressure trauma in the uterus.
During medieval times in Europe, according to BabyMed, babies born with a caul had mystical associations of greatness, and midwives would often preserve the membrane for the mother to keep as an heirloom.
In literature, the protagonists of both Charles Dickens' David Copperfield and Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn were born with a caul -- in both novels, the membrane was preserved and sold for its ability to ward off drowning.
Actress Jesicca Alba gave birth to a daughter in 2011, who was born en caul in an intact amniotic sac, inspiring her to name the baby Haven.