Unborn Baby Receives Lifesaving Surgery From Inside the Womb

“I’ve held your baby,” a surgeon told the mom following the surgery.
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
February 12, 2019
Pregnant mom holding belly in hospital gown, bed; UK mom and baby have lifesaving surgery from inside womb
Image: Getty Images

A UK woman’s unborn baby girl underwent a pioneering “foetal repair” surgery while still in the womb, BBC reports.

The mom, Bethan Simpson, discovered her baby had spina bifida at her 20-week scan. After the diagnosis, doctors advised the 26-year-old and her partner to terminate the pregnancy.

Spina bifida is a condition where the spine and spinal cord do not develop properly during pregnancy, causing a gap in the spine. It usually leads to paralysis of the legs, incontinence and sometimes learning difficulties. The earlier spina bifida is repaired the better for long-term health and mobility.

The foetal repair surgery was a "no brainer” for the mom, and she became on of the first mothers in the UK to undergo the procedure.

The four-hour operation took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital when Simpson was 24 weeks pregnant. During the surgery, surgeons opened her womb to sew the tiny hole in the baby’s lower spine, and repositioned the spinal cord.

“I’ve held your baby,” a surgeon told Simpson following the surgery.

While the procedure is predominantly carried out in the US and Belgium, the mom is believed to be the fourth person to undergo the surgery in the UK, according to BBC.

Advancements in science and medicine will never cease to amaze us. Last year, a revolutionary device allowed a same-sex couple from Texas to carry their baby at different phases during pregnancy.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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