A pregnant woman and her husband in Arkansas attended a routine ultrasound and received some news they definitely were not expecting. Julia Grovenburg and her husband Todd were told that next to their growing baby girl, Jillian, was the growing foetus of a male, conceived two and a half weeks after Jillian.
This situation is an incredibly rare one, and is known to doctors as superfetation. The existence of a second baby was noticed when a second heart beat showed up on the scan, and doctors realised that another fetus was developing several weeks behind the first.
Currently there are only around 10 reported cases in the USA of superfetation.
Dr. Michael Muylaert, the couples doctor, confirmed to Arkansas' KFSM-TV that "Mrs. Julia Grovenburg is pregnant with twins and there appears to be a discordant growth pattern, possibly due to superfetation. This is an unusual and rare condition, but the possibility is real. It can only be confirmed after delivery by chromosomal and metabolic studies on the babies"
Superfetation can lead to difficulties for the smaller child, particularly in terms of lung development issues, but as the children are fairly close together in age the problems are likely to be minimal.
The two children are expected to have separate labours, which should be interesting as they are due at the end of the year and the start of January!
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