In an unusual case, a 32-year-old woman from Bhiwandi had triplets through normal delivery early on Tuesday. Doctors said that the case was rare also since the woman was in her 35th week of pregnancy and that the babies were conceived naturally and not with the help of assisted reproductive technology.
The woman, a housewife, was in her hometown in Uttar Pradesh due to the pandemic. Despite being pregnant, she did not seek any gynaecological scan till June, when she and her husband, a daily wage labourer, returned to Bhiwandi.
“We put her on regular follow-ups after she came to us for a check-up and had planned her Cesarean section,” said gynaecologist Dr Humaira Shaikh, who conducted the delivery at Bhiwandi’s Royal Hospital. “We also gave her blood transfusions during the follow-up as she was anaemic,” she said.
On Tuesday at around 12.15 am, the woman experienced pain in her abdomen. By the time she was rushed to the hospital, she was already in labour. “We carried out preliminary investigations and realised that we can go ahead with a normal vaginal delivery as the first baby was in a vertex position,” said Shaikh. Commonly during birth, the baby’s head comes out first and this is known as the vertex position.
Shaikh and her team had kept the backup of the C-section ready. An anaesthetist was on standby in case an emergency procedure had to be undertaken. Before the second baby was delivered, the woman was shifted to the operation theatre. However, the second baby was also in the vertex position and could be delivered normally.
“The third baby was in a horizontal position, but we got enough space to move the baby and go ahead with the delivery,” said Shaikh adding that the babies- two boys and a girl- weighed 1.7kg, 1.8kg and 1.9 kg. “They are low weight babies but stable with no respiratory issues,” she said.
A natural conception of triplets is seen in one in 8,000 cases. “Delivering triplets through a normal delivery at 35 weeks is also rare,” said Mumbai based gynaecologist Dr Jatinder Kaur who practices at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Kaur has delivered triplets at 35 weeks only once in her 15-year long practice through a C-section.
“In higher-order pregnancies, maternal complications like postpartum haemorrhage are known. Expert neonatal care is also essential. Therefore, it is advisable to plan a C-section in advance,” said Kaur.
Dr Ashok Anand, head of the gynaecology department at the state-run JJ Hospital agreed that it was an unusual case. “It is common to see triplets in an In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) case, but rare in a natural conception. Also, such multiple pregnancies are always delivered via C-section procedures to lower the risk of complications,” he said. Anand said he recalls delivering triplets normally only once at JJ Hospital.