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A baby girl has been born with what appears to be three heads in Uttar Pradesh in India, apparently due to an unknown medical condition.
Family members are said to be ‘in shock’ following the birth of the child last week.
Having been born with two large protrusions formed from the back of her skull, medics in the country are also stumped.
The baby’s mother delivered her at a health centre after suffering extreme pain before going into labour.
According to medics, the infant’s mum had not experienced any complications during her pregnancy.
She was later referred to the District Hospital in Etah, as the primary health centre lacked proper medical facilities.
Bijji Thakur, who witnessed the child’s birth, said: “The girl child had three heads. She looked like an alien.”
Doctors have said they will conduct a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan to determine the exact medical condition of the new-born baby.
“This is a very rare medical condition,” explained Rajesh Thakur, Chief Medical Superintendent, District Hospital, Etah.
“The child’s body has not fully developed. We will perform an MRI scan and then perform a surgery to separate the ‘heads’.”
While rare, there have been many cases reported of babies being born with extra heads worldwide – a medical condition often referred to as encephalocele.
On its website, Great Ormond Street Hospital refers to an encephalocele as ‘a rare congenital (present at birth) type of neural tube defect where part of the skull has not formed properly so a portion of brain tissue and associated structures are outside the skull’.
“The protruding sac may be covered with skin or it may be covered with a thin membrane,” the website explains.
Earlier this year, another baby in Colombia was born with her own twin growing inside her belly.
The girl, born in February, is an incredibly rare example of a ‘foetus in foetu’ birth – a phenomenon that was first observed way back in 1808, but has not been seen on many occasions since then.
Itzamara – as the young child has been named – was born on 22 February but, according to local media, medical staff then had to remove a tiny 45 millimetre twin from within her via keyhole surgery.
The twin did not have a beating heart, nor a brain. In fact, it weighed only 14 grams.
Monica Vega, the baby’s mum, said that doctors actually realised that something was inside her unborn daughter’s abdomen after seven months of her pregnancy.
Doctors believe that this could be the very first case of foetus in foetu being diagnosed during the pregnancy.
Dr Miguel Parra said: “I have never heard of anything like this in my entire life. I really did not expect this to happen.”