82-Year-Old Woman Shocked to Find She's Carrying 40-Year-Old Fetus

OMG 10

x-ray machineAn 82-year-old woman in Colombia was searching for the cause of her horrible stomach pain when her doctors stumbled upon a 40-year-old reason. Inside her was a 40-year-old "stone baby," the remnants of a fetus that had implanted outside her womb, grown a bit, and then calcified. Horrifying, right? And it's not the first time it has happened.

Still, it is exceedingly rare. There are only 300 documented cases from around the world of this condition called lithopedion. Basically, a fetus develops – and dies – outside of the uterus usually in the abdominal cavity.  At that point, if it is too large to be absorbed back into the body, the fetus calcifies in order to protect the woman's body from dead tissue.

In this woman's case, it was discovered because her doctor ordered an abdominal x-ray. It had been there since she was 42. How insane is that?

The woman went into surgery and will likely be OK and the reality is, this is not something most of us have to worry about at all (we hope). It is so very rare.

Still, these kind of medical marvels are both fascinating and frightening.

But apparently, while lithopedian is very rare, abdominal pregnancy is less so. It occurs about one out of every 11,000 pregnancies. Only about 1.5 percent of those develop into lithopedion. It's just hard to even imagine.

There are still questions. How old was the fetus when it died? Presumably it was too young to have started moving, but was old enough to be described as a "baby." Emotionally, that has to be hard on the woman who went through this as well. It's like finding out you had a miscarriage 40 years later.

As someone who is currently pregnant (who has been watching my stomach move to and for while I write this as she wiggles around), it is hard to even imagine being pregnant and not realizing it, but perhaps this woman did not have access to medical care at that time and certainly, if her symptoms stopped, then it makes sense.

But still. Wow. How frightening and bizarre. Hopefully she makes a full recovery.

Have you heard of lithopedian?


Image via Newtown grafitti /Flickr


fertility, pain


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nonmember avatar Pro-Life

Yes, I first heard of it on Law&Order Criminal Intent Season 4 Episode 6 Titled: In the Dark.

Plot: The murder of a homeless worker leads to the discovery of seven murdered homeless men, and a mechanic who'll do anything for the woman he loves.

nonmember avatar kiki


several years ago I heard of practically the same story. And elderly woman living in a small village was having abdominal pain and her son decides to take her to specialists only to find out a baby she waa carrying many many years ago had calcified. She even recalled thinking she was pregnant & going to the doctor in her village when she was in severe pain but it was dismissed & she was Sent home. Poor woman even had a bit of a prego belly and never gave birth. People in the village had deemed her cursed because she was not able to birth the baby she was supposedly pregnant with. So sad she had to deal with that for decades before she could get proper healthcare. :(

Huf1973 Huf1973

Has nothing to do with proper health care. This happened to my great aunt in Ohio years ago. They actually have the baby in display at a museum, so people can get a little better understanding of what happened. Like this lady my aunt had no idea she was pregnant either.

nonmember avatar jenetta

#hard to belive this.

nonmember avatar me

After 3 seasons or so of I was pregnant and didnt know or what ever the show is called, I would think its reasonable to not realize you were few weeks to few months pregnant. Especially back then, theg had no ultrasound so when her symptoms if she had any stopped she propably just forgot about the whole thing. Very weird though

Tempe... TempestRayne

I've heard of it. I remember a TV show about a woman who had this, a fully formed full term baby that wouldn't come. she watched a brutal (and fatal) ceaserean (her roommate was pretty much ripped open in unsterile circumstances with no anesthesia and she bled to death) and escaped the hospital.  She carried her full term baby around for fifty or so years until she went to the hospital with abdominal pain.  Her doc thought she had an enormous ovarian cyst and it turns out it was her baby. It was a boy.

Zoiks... Zoiksandaway

I have known about this kind of thing for decades. Working in a lab, I have seen this in animals, and have heard of human examples of near full term extrauterine calcified pregnancies. In days before imaging existed lithopedia was something a doctor had to consider if a female patient was seeing him for any abdominal anomaly.

Austi... Austinsmommy12

TempestRayne and I watched the same show. The woman was in India, and after she saw how she would also need a c-section like the other woman, she simply left the hospital and went back home. She lived a life of seclusion and exile because she couldn't bear children. Her husband left her and the village shunned her. Really sad story, but reeeally fascinating. This woman had her full term baby inside her for 50 something years with no problems, then all of a sudden had to see a doctor for severe pain. That's just crazy to think about.

squee... squeekumsaus

Ive heard of this before. SO scary and sad.

Can only imagine the shock that comes with finding out

Green... GreenEyesMom

I have heard of it yes. I'm glad that it's rare. I can imagine it being very traumatic. I hope that she receives what ever care and support she may need. .....wow on the 40 years, hard to wrap my head around that.

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