“To be born in a shirt” – such an expression is known to many. It is often considered part of folklore. It is used most often when talking about great luck due to a way out of a difficult situation. But this expression has a more “mundane” meaning. What does such a birth mean and when is it useful for the baby, and when it can be dangerous, aif.ru told Ekaterina Efimkova, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Leading Researcher of MONIIAG, doctor of the highest category.
“Shirt” is called the fetal bladder, in which the baby is in the womb. During childbirth, it usually breaks, water pours out, the child is born, and then the placenta and membranes leave the mother’s body.
In the old days, they believed that a woman in labor should keep and hide the fetal bladder in a safe place – this is “a guarantee of her baby’s health”, and babies born in a “shirt” were predicted to have a bright and happy life, invulnerability in battle and the gift of healing.
What is the importance of the bubble?
Throughout pregnancy, it performs a protective function, keeps the baby from various infections, and during childbirth protects the small body from pressure during labor.
The idea of creating an artificial fetal bladder excites the minds of not only doctors who would like to create one to protect premature babies, but also filmmakers: in many futuristic films, you can see clones of people and fantastic creatures sleeping and maturing in transparent bubbles. These bubbles are nothing but the same “shirt”.
“Birth in a shirt” – useful or dangerous?
Normally, during childbirth, the bladder can burst on its own during active contractions – when the cervix opens by about 6 cm. But there are times when full disclosure has already occurred, and the bladder remains intact. This happens if the fetal membrane is too dense or with such a complication of pregnancy as oligohydramnios.
This type of birth increases the risk of some dangerous complications, such as:
- placental abruption before the birth of the baby,
- weakening of labor activity,
- child hypoxia.
If you do not perform a simple operation to open the bladder (amniotomy), then the child is born along with all the membranes.
In this case, the birth “in the shirt” can be dangerous for a small life, because the movement of the baby through the birth canal may slow down.
At the same time, if due to the health of the mother, the birth does not take place in a natural way, but a caesarean section is performed in case of premature birth, then, according to some studies, removing a premature baby in the whole fetal bladder can, on the contrary, be useful, as it helps to reduce intranatal mechanical impact on the immature fetus.
The principle of the operation is to preserve the integrity of the bladder membrane when making an incision on the uterus and extracting the child under the protection of a transparent cocoon from the amniotic fluid. The newborn in the fetal bladder is removed completely or to the level of the umbilical ring, then the membranes are opened, and the child is transferred to the pediatrician and the umbilical cord is crossed.
Babies born this way generally have a higher Apgar score: they have fewer respiratory complications, less need for mechanical ventilation, or their duration is reduced. In such children, even in the case of a difficult pregnancy, neurological complications occur less frequently in the early period of development, they are less likely to need aggressive resuscitation measures.
As statistics show, the extraction of the fetus in the whole amniotic sac during surgery also implies economic benefits due to a reduction in the period of hospitalization for newborns and a decrease in the frequency of visits to medical hospitals during the first year of life.