A Brazilian woman, Maria de Nazare, has given birth to a baby with two heads. The babies were delivered by cesarean section at Santa Casas hospital, Anajas in Brazil's northern Para state. The baby weighed 9.9 lbs at birth.
The two-headed baby was born healthy with all the organs functioning normally. Doctors examined it after birth and found that it has two brains and two spines but shares one heart, lungs, liver, pelvis and other body organs and parts. The mother, aged 25, said she had been expecting twins
Claudionor Assis Vasconcelos, director of Hospital Municipal de Anajas, said the woman who is from a rural part of the state never had an ultra-scan during pregnancy. Fox News reports she was admitted to the hospital in severe pain and became aware of the abnormality just before the baby was born at 1 a.m. on Monday morning. The hospital director said: "When doctors scanned her they realised that the baby had two heads and that a normal birth would be a great risk both for mother and baby. The caesarean took an hour because the baby was sitting down. Despite all the problems we have as a small interior hospital we managed to save both mother and baby, which was our aim. And for us it was a great surprise to find out that the child was in really good health."
Obstetrician and gynecologist at the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital Neila Dahas, expressed the dilemma of doctors: "If both their brains are functioning, how are we going to choose which head to remove? We are not considering the possibility of surgery. What we've got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see how they will develop."
In biological terms the baby is not one person but two. They are conjoined twins. Medical experts call the condition dicephalic paragus and say it is an extremely rare form of conjoinment. The challenge medical experts are facing is that separating the twins would be impossible because they share the same body. Doctors say that a corrective surgery to separate the babies is impossible.
According to Fox News, hospital obstetrician and gynecologist Neila Dahas, said that the condition was the result of failure of the egg that formed the baby to split completely after fertilization. The doctor said: "I want her [the mother] to understand that she does not have a monstrous son, a son with two heads, but she has two sons."
Daily Mail reports that dicephalic paragus is very rare in Africa and Southwest Asia, but there have been reported instances in the West. The best known case in the U.S. is that of Abigail and Brittany Hensel who are media celebrities. The twins have appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and in various television documentaries.
Hospital officials say that the mother does not appear distraught that she has given birth to a baby with two heads. An official said: "On the contrary, the baby was received with much happiness by the family.The mother fed both mouths and the baby stayed with her in her room the whole time. Her desire was to take her baby straight home."
Independent Online reports the mother named the twins Jesus and Emanuel.
This is the second time a two-headed baby has been born in Brazil during the year. Sueli Ferreira, 27, gave birth to a two-headed baby in Paraiba State, but the twins died a few hours later because of lack of oxygen to one of the heads.