There is probably a baby being born every minute, and yet each birth never ceases to be amazing, to us folks at least. Health professionals may not be so easily impressed unless, of course, it's something like a baby born en caul or with caul, which occurs once in about 80,000 births.
Caul refers to the amniotic sac, which is a fluid-filled thin membrane that envelopes the baby inside the womb. It acts as a cushion for the baby and helps keep the temperature in the womb constant. When that amniotic sac breaks (which is what "your water breaks" mean), it's a signal that you're nearing childbirth.
Some labor, however, progresses without the amniotic sac breaking. That's when "born-with-caul" birth happens. It is when a baby is born with the amniotic sac still covering his head or sometimes even his torso. If you want to picture what it looks like, click here.
On the other hand, it is also possible for a baby to be born entirely still inside the amniotic sac, which called a "born-en-caul" birth. Most born-en-caul births occur during premature deliveries and usually via C-section. It is rarer and is often seen as a sign of luck for the baby's future. (Click here to read more.)
You've seen photos of these rare births, but have you ever wondered how doctors unwrap them? Technically, doctors just pierce through the membrane carefully and peel it away from the baby's skin. Seeing how it's done, though, is captivating.
Mona V. Elsness of the femalewelness.no posted a surreal photo of a health professional unwrapping a baby born en caul on Instagram. According to her caption, this type of birth is highly recommended for fragile premature babies because it can protect them from acquiring injuries due to overly strong uterine contractions.
"This little guy is seen still breathing through the mother's placenta! There have been cases where infants born in a complete caul have survived up to 25 minutes of extrauterine life inside this intact sac!" Elsness writes. Just before the doctor pierces and removes the sac, you can see the baby breathe and move his hands.
According to the osteopath and physiotherapist who specializes in women's health, en caul C-section births are also performed differently, specifically in a different part of the mother's abdomen to reduce the likelihood of pressure-related injuries to premature newborns. It also reduces the chances of the preemie lacking in oxygen.
"Seeing moments like this captured can really put the blessing of life into perspective for all of us!" Elseness said.