A woman from Alabama who was born with a rare double uterus is pregnant with two babies – one in each womb.
Kelsey Hatcher, 32, found out that she had two uteruses, as well as two cervixes, when she was 17. The condition, known medically as uterus didelphys, affects around 0.3 percent of the population and also comes with a small chance of carrying a baby in both uteruses. The likelihood of such an event is about “1 in a million” according to Richard Davis, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Women & Infants Center, speaking to Good Morning America.
Although aware of this chance, Hatcher had three previous pregnancies in which she’d carried a single baby in one uterus, all without complications. So, when she and the nurse simultaneously noticed a second baby during her eight-week scan, Hatcher was still taken aback.
"Before she could say anything, I said, 'Oh my gosh, there's another one,'" Hatcher recalled. "Probably all I did was laugh for 30 minutes or so because it was just like, this is not happening."
The medical team looking after Hatcher are treating the babies as fraternal twins. "There are lots of different types of twin pregnancies out there," said Shweta Patel, Hatcher’s OB-GYN. "Most likely what happened is that she ovulated separately and had one egg come down each fallopian tube, meaning coming down on each side of the uterus, and then sperm traveled up on each separate uterus and fertilization occurred separately."
Although the team has spent several months researching and preparing for the babies’ arrival – Hatcher’s eight-week scan was in May and the babies are due on Christmas Day – it’s still an entirely new experience for them.
"There's no true expert out there who knows how to manage a patient with two uteruses and two babies, with one in each uterus," Patel said. "So we really are relying on our baseline teaching and our baseline knowledge and the normal physiology of pregnancy that we understand, and applying it in her scenario."
There are lots of different ways that delivery could play out; theoretically, one uterus could even start contracting whilst the other does not and the babies could be born at different times. According to Patel, the team and Hatcher have discussed a whole host of scenarios, including vaginal delivery or C-section for both babies or even a different method for each.
Hatcher has remained positive in spite of the complicated nature of her pregnancy. “If I let myself dwell on it too much, it can be overwhelming and scary,” said Hatcher, speaking to the Washington Post. “But I just try to focus on the positive and know that I’m in the best of hands in our area, and things will turn out great.”
Whilst rare, Hatcher isn’t the only person with uterus didelphys who has carried babies in both wombs in recent years. Back in 2020, it was reported that a woman in the UK had also done so. Rarer still, another British woman with uterine didelphys carried three babies – one in one uterus and a set of identical twins in the other. A similar situation occurred in Bangladesh in 2019, when a woman gave birth to twins 26 days after the premature birth of her first baby.