Obstetric success comes to the four in Bangalore

For four years after marriage, Pavanitha was without a child. On May 31, she became the mother of quadruplets, the first such successful case in the city.

When Pavanitha, 25, married to Subramani, 28, failed to conceive for four years, the couple sought help of fertility experts. She underwent treatment for infertility, and three months later she became pregnant. Initially, the doctors told Pavanitha that she was carrying twins. But, later, tests confirmed that she will be delivering quadruplets.

Pavanitha’s joy was, however, tempered when doctors told her that the risk of quadruplets being born prematurely was very high and that their survival rates were also low. She was then referred to Dr Prakash Mehta of Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital, who is an expert in high-risk pregnancies.

In the 33rd week of her pregnancy, she developed signs of HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening obstetric complication that results in liver problems and increased blood pressure. Dr Mehta decided to have the babies delivered immediately instead of waiting for the normal 40 weeks. A girl and three boys, weighing 950 gm, 1.01 kg, 1.27 kg, and 1.28 kg, respectively, were delivered safely through the Caesarean section.

“This is the first time in the city that four normal babies have been born in one go,” Dr Mehta said. “There may have been earlier incidents of quadruplets in the city, but one or more babies were born with either defects or did not survive after delivery,” he said.

The doctor said that twins were common — about 1 in 90 or 100 births. One in about 5,000 pregnancies resulted in triplets. But quadruplets were rare, with the incidence of normal births just one in five lakh pregnancies.

Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital is footing a large part of Pavanitha’s medical bill, since she and her husband are from a low socio-economic background. “We also work as a charitable trust. The parents have only been charged whatever they can pay. The rest will be taken care of by the trustees or will be waived off completely,” Dr Mehta said.

The parents had said that they would take care of all the four children, Dr Mehta said. “But, considering their circumstances, they may find it difficult to look after four children. They have a joint family, and they’re counting on support from relatives,” he said.

Published in DNA, June 4th 2010

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