En Caul Birth Explained

Giving birth is quite an amazing and magical experience. But have you ever heard of an en caul birth? This one-of-a-kind birth is quite enchanting and is believed to be a sign of good luck. An en caul birth is when a baby is delivered still wholly enclosed within the unbroken amniotic sac (caul). An en caul birth, also known as a veiled/mermaid birth, is quite rare, with less than 1 in 80,000 women experiencing it.

Doctors may purposely perform an en caul birth during a cesarean section. However, mermaid births are rare and spontaneous in vaginal births due to the pressure involved in squeezing a newborn out of the birth canal. Here is everything you need to know about a safed delivery.


What Is An En Caul Birth?

Are there benefits and risks to an en caul birth?
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Throughout pregnancy, the amniotic sac (a thin sac filled with amniotic fluid that covers the fetus during gestation) helps protect your baby from injury and keeps her warm by helping control temperatures. The amniotic fluid helps grow your fetus’ body parts, including the stomach, lungs, and muscles. The fetus stays inside the sac and grows and develops as the pregnancy grows.

Normally, when mom is about to go into labor, the sac bursts, that is, your water breaks. Sometimes, a mom can go into labor, and the sac doesn’t rupture. So, the baby will be delivered en caul- within a jelly-like bubble. The chances of having an en-caul birth are pretty rare, and there’s no guarantee of it happening. Also, a mermaid birth isn’t better or worse than a normal birth.

According to Very Well Health, an en caul delivery is less common in a vaginal delivery than a C-section because your water breaks when you’re about to go into labor. Also, being induced normally breaks the amniotic sac. In C-sections, a doctor normally ruptures the sac to lift the baby out.

However, sometimes, a doctor can choose to lift the baby and the amniotic sac out for a mermaid birth. So, vaginal en-caul births happen by chance. Babies born prematurely have a higher chance of being delivered via an en-caul delivery than a full-term baby. Other than the fact that an en caul birth is fascinating, it is all the more intriguing become very few people witness it.

RELATED: Fortunate Baby Girl Born Inside Amniotic Sac In Exceptionally Rare Birth

Can Moms Request for An En Caul Birth

Women may request an en caul birth but probably shouldn’t because even if you’ll have an elective cesarean section, your doctor probably won’t take your request too seriously, as there are few benefits to having one, aside from the obviously fascinating factor. However, you can ask your health care practitioner just to be sure.

But according to healthline, Some people believe that the caul absorbs and protects your baby from scrapes and bumps as she’s being delivered. Still, this process can be challenging because if the sac ruptures during the process, things can be slippery and harder to manage.

How Does A Caul Birth Differ From An En Caul Birth

Even though these two sound really similar, they’re not. In a caul birth, a baby is born with a portion of the amniotic sac or membrane covering just the head or face, or in rare cases, it covers even the shoulders and chest. It looks like a veil, and the doctor removes it by separating it gently from the newborn.

So, basically, there’s a part of the amniotic sac, just not the fascinating balloon covering the whole baby. A caul birth is also more common than an en caul birth, and babies delivered with a caul are said to be born with a helmet, bonnet, or veil- all ways to describe the thin amniotic membrane piece covering them.

Are Babies Delivered En Caul Special?

Some cultures believe that a veiled birth is spiritual or actual magic. Babies delivered en caul are perceived as a sign of good luck for both them and their parents. Also, some traditions go as far as saving the caul to keep it as a good luck charm. It is also believed that “en caul” babies cannot drown, but this is false. There is so much superstition surrounding en caul births, with other people believing that these babies are destined for greatness and that many celebrities are believed to have been delivered with a caul. But we can’t confirm how much of this is true.

What Happens After An En Caul Delivery?

As strange as en caul deliveries sound, they’re completely safe. When a baby remains sealed within the amniotic sac, they’re perfectly content, whether inside or outside mommy’s womb. In fact, the “en caul” baby will act the same way she did before delivery, taking practice breaths by taking in amniotic fluid and being nourished via the umbilical cord. Besides, according to WebMDthere’s plenty of air within the sac, and the umbilical cord connected to your child’s belly button is full of oxygen-rich blood.

But this has to come to an end. So, the doctor will gently and quietly start to tear away the amniotic sac to break it. The water will begin to pour out of the sac, just like it would after breaking a water-filled balloon. Next, the baby will be separated from the placenta by snipping the umbilical cord. After this step, the medical team will do the same thing it would do during a standard delivery, mainly ensuring that the baby takes her first breath outside the sac and checking whether the baby has stable vital signs.

If the doctor used a vacuum to deliver your child, he will breathe and cry after delivery. But babies are different, and others will act stunned and delayed before taking their first breath, mainly if they were distressed during labor.

Benefits & Risks Of An En Caul Birth

Everything you need to know about an en caul birth
Via Pexels

The benefits of an en caul birth include:

  • Providing protection for high-risk fetuses. The amniotic sac can cushion the unborn fetus, protecting the baby from bumps and bruises. Also, a doctor may intentionally perform a mermaid birth on a highly pre-term baby born via CS to protect him from pressure-related trauma during birth.
  • Lowers the risk of a baby getting stuck in cases when the cervix isn’t correctly dilated.
  • An en caul birth may also protect the baby from a prolapse, which is when the umbilical cord drops into the cervix either ahead or below the fetus. This increases the risk of the fetus squeezing it, making it an emergency for the baby.

An en caul delivery risks include breathing distress, sepsis, losing too much blood, and neonatal anemia.

Sources: WebMD, Healthline, Very Well Health,

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