After reading about the woman who gave birth vaginally while in a coma due to a bad case of the H1N1 virus, I wondered how many other women have given birth while in a coma.
Quite a few, as it turns out. And the last story? It’s a doozy.
So read on for six astounding stories of pregnancy and childbirth, including another woman who gave birth vaginally.
Most recently, in 2009, a Russian woman who was severely injured in a car crash when she was ten weeks pregnant. She slipped into a coma at the hospital and soon after, doctors realized she was pregnant. She gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl via c-section after being in a coma for seven months.
Also last year, a 41-year-old British woman who was 26 weeks pregnant suffered a brain hemorrhage related to a tumor and went into a coma. She was brain dead, but doctors kept her heart beating and spent 48 hours pumping steroids into her body to help her baby’s lungs develop before delivering the tiny, 2 lb baby via c-section. They placed her on her mama’s shoulder briefly before handing her to her dad. The story is beautiful and tragic and you can read the entire thing and see pictures here.
Another coma birth related to H1N1 happened in 2009. Katie Flyte was six months pregnant when she developed a fever and cough. After it developed into pneumonia the 27-year-old went into respiratory arrest. Doctors put her in a drug induced coma and delivered her 2 lb daughter via c-section. Katie Flyte never woke up to meet her daughter. She died several weeks later.
In 2007 an eight-months pregnant Florida woman was shot in the head and went into a coma. She was rushed to the hospital and doctors performed an emergency c-section to deliver her 4 lb 9 oz. son.
This one is pretty amazing. A Kentucky woman who got in a serious car crash while just two weeks pregnant slipped into a coma. 24-year-old Chastity Cooper had severe head injuries and was in a vegetative state. “This is one of the only cases ever in the United States where the woman was in a coma throughout the entire gestation,” said Dr. Michael Hnat, a neonatologist at University Hospital. Alexis Cooper was born at 38 weeks weighing 7 lbs. Chastity Cooper gave birth vaginally with the help of labor-inducing medications but no strong pain relievers. Doctors considered a C-section to be even more dangerous, because of the risks of anesthesia and the potential difficulties of healing after the surgery.
I saved the most bizarre case for last. A woman who was ALREADY IN A COMA WAS RAPED and became pregnant. According to the New York Times, the 19-year-old was in a serious car accident in 1985. “Fed by a tube, swaddled in a diaper, she aged from 19 to 29 with little change in her condition.” Then, doctors noticed a strange thing; her belly was growing. They ultimately realized she was pregnant and the victim of rape. A nursing home aide later confessed and was charged with rape. The woman’s parents chose to continue her pregnancy. She gave birth to a premature baby, in what doctors say was the first case of someone getting pregnant and giving birth in a vegetative state. From what little I can gather, a doctor was later prosecuted for not realizing the woman was pregnant earlier, which apparently resulted in the baby being brain damaged. Whoa. What a story.