A Polish woman lay nearly upside down in labour for 75 days to save the lives of her two premature babies after the first of three foetuses growing inside her was born prematurely and died.
Joanna Krzysztonek eventually gave birth to baby girl Iga and boy Ignacy 1-1/2 months later on February 15 at a neo-natal clinic in the south-western Polish town of Wroclaw and said the idea of lying in an awkward position for weeks on end hadn't bothered her.
"I sighed with relief that there was a chance to keep the pregnancy and to give the babies a chance to be born successfully," she said.
The head of the Wroclaw obstetrics and neo-natal clinic where Krzysztonek gave birth, Mariusz Zimmer, said doctors managed to ease Krzysztonek's contractions, but considered her to be in labour from the birth of the first child.
Giving birth has a beginning and an ending
"This procedure – I mean giving birth – has a beginning and an ending. If the first baby was born that means the birth had started," Zimmer said.
Human childbirth typically lasts between eight and 12 hours, while a full-term pregnancy generally lasts around 40 weeks. With help from her awkward positioning and medical attention, Iga and Ignacy's term inside their mother was 32 weeks.
Iga and Ignacy remain in special incubators, but were expected to leave the hospital soon.
Their mum had problems with maintaining her balance after leaving her unusual hospital bed, but now visits and holds her babies every day.
(Dagmara Leszkowicz and Piotr Halawej, Reuters Health, March 2012)
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