Doctors in India were recently astonished by the case of  baby born pregnant with his own twin. It’s a rare but fascinating medical condition. There are only 200 known cases of this happening in the entire world.

Fetus in fetu.

The “pregnancy” is not a real pregnancy, of course. The baby has no uterus. The fetal twin was actually in a fetal sac in the newborn’s abdomen.

According to The New Zealand Herald, Doctor Bhavna Thorat called the condition “fetus in fetu.” Basically what happened is that the woman’s pregnancy developed as a set of monozygotic twins that shared one placenta. If they’d developed normally, they would have been a set of identical twins. Instead, however, at an early stage of development one fetus wrapped around the other. The parasitic fetus wound up becoming a mass of fetal tissue found in the baby’s abdomen.

Dr. Thorat actually discovered the fetus in fetu during an ultrasound appointment in July. While looking over the baby’s development, he saw what looked just like another, tiny fetus tucked into the fetus’ abdomen. He saw arms and legs, and even a head with a brain in it. That’s very rare in fetus in fetu cases. The parasitic fetus did not have a skull bone, however. It doesn’t have a discernible anatomy to the untrained eye, and it never actually developed into a baby.

Doctors removed the parasitic twin surgically after birth.

After the birth, doctors removed the fetal tissue mass from the baby’s abdomen. The fetal mass was only 2.75 inches long, and it weighed 150 grams, or about as much as a D battery.

This can be dangerous for the baby, because the fetal mass takes nutrients from the same umbilical cord the baby is using to develop, so it can take nutrients away from the baby. Fortunately in this case the baby was totally fine. After surgery to remove the mass in his abdomen, doctors returned the baby to his mother. Baby and mother are both doing fine.

(Image: iStockPhoto / kadmy)