We have all probably heard a pregnant woman scream, “My Water Broke!” and realized that she needs to be rushed to a hospital for the delivery of her child. At that moment, everyone seems to usually be in frenzy since they’ve figured out water breaking signifies the bursting of the amniotic sac, the water bag that holds the unborn baby.
According to the UK NHS (National Health Service), the amniotic sac is a combination of two membranes: amnion and chorion that form a protective bag, filled with amniotic fluid, in which the unborn child grows and develops inside its mother’s womb. The amniotic sac has several functions such as protecting the fetus from mechanical injuries, providing the fetus with fluids that contain dissolved oxygen for it to breathe and swallow water.
On August 6, 2016, in Spain a baby was born with his amniotic sac intact – a phenomenon referred to as “en caul”. This is a rare sight as it happens to only one in every 80,000 babies. Though a rare sight, the en caul birth is quite harmless. The process requires a doctor to use a scalpel or surgical scissors to make a small incision for the baby to be freed from its amniotic sac.
The picture shows another baby, also from Spain, completely engulfed by its amniotic sac that appears to be stretching over the baby. The blue umbilical cord is clearly visible wrapped around the baby’s face. The umbilical cord is used to provide the baby with food and oxygen. It resembles the bond the mother shares with her child.
In the footage below, posted by Facebook user Jasmine Perez, you can clearly see the child squirming within the sac as doctors and nurses watch on. The fascinating video captures the baby yawning within the amniotic sac as one of the doctor points in amazement. He then proceeds to carefully puncture the amniotic sac to burst it open. As the sac empties its contents, the fluid and baby flow out of it. Luckily the baby slides safely into the pair of the other doctor’s hands, as he is welcomed to the outside world for the first time.
This rare sight is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for doctors and nurses and this was clearly visible in the sheer excitement of the doctors gathered around the baby on the operating table.
Usually, the amniotic sac is burst open when it is unable to take the pressure of the baby stretching inside the sac, inevitably puncturing the membrane. This is normally a green light for a mother to prepare for the delivery and is referred to as ‘water breaking’.
En caul generally occurs in premature babies since the amniotic sac is still intact, indicating that the child may be born a few days earlier than its expected date of delivery. This does not mean that the child will be born with complications.
As long as the doctor present at the scene follows protocol and makes sure they slowly separate the child from the amniotic sac to avoid any scars, the baby will be under no harm.
The video was viewed by more than 25 million social media users, as they together witnessed the rare birth of a baby being delivered with its amniotic sac intact.