SYDNEY, Australia – A woman in a northern Australian city gave birth to a healthy baby girl after a rare full-term ectopic pregnancy, a hospital official said Friday.
Meera Thangarajah, 34, had no symptoms or complications during her pregnancy, so doctors performing a routine Caesarean section Thursday were shocked to find that the baby had developed in the ovary rather than the uterus.
"It is unusual not to know an ectopic or an abdomnial pregnancy is developing since ultra-sound is used very frequently in almost every pregnancy today," said Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of FOXNews.com.
An ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg develops outside of the uterus, usually miscarries or is terminated by doctors because of the threat it can cause to the mother.
"That's why it's extremely important to identify these pregnancies early because they could lead to severe maternal injury - including death," Alvarez added.
Baby Durga weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and both she and her mother are healthy, said Robyn Cahill, general manager of the Darwin Private Hospital.
"We're calling it a miracle," Cahill told The Associated Press.
The baby's father, Ravi Thangarajah, told Nine Network television that doctors had told him, "You're one of the luckiest men in the world at the moment."
But Cahill said the mother had no complications or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, and it did not show up on a scan halfway through the pregnancy. She said only 1 in 40,000 fertilizations implant in the ovary, and it is unheard of that one of those fetuses grow to full term, generally 37 weeks.
Durga was born at 38 weeks.
"It is extremely rare," said Mark Erian, a specialist in high-risk obstetrics at the University of Queensland. "I have never seen a case that progresses until fetal viability. She was absolutely lucky to have the pregnancy progress."
Alvarez said he has had similar experiences during his career of more than 25 years.
"I have only seen two cases like this," he said. "I have delivered a viable abdominal pregnancy and surgically removed a non-viable ovarian pregnancy. Both cases were incredibly challenging and required a multi-team approach to prevent maternal injury."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.