A woman with two wombs has given birth to twins in an event described as a one in 500 million pregnancy.
Jennifer Ashwood from Camborne in Cornwall discovered she had a rare bicornuate heart-shaped uterus during a routine pregnancy scan. The dual pregnancies occurred when an egg was released into both uteruses. Both eggs were then successfully fertilised at the same time – or on very close days.
'To have the two uteruses is rare but to have an egg in both, then those to be fertilised, and then for both eggs to be in the right part, it's a bit of a miracle,' said Ashwood.
'It's two separate uterine cavities joined by one cervix. Everything else is the same, with two fallopian tubes, one each side, each with an ovary.'
The babies developed entirely separately, with their own amniotic sacs and placentas. In most cases, women with the condition will only carry one baby, in one of the two uteruses.
The condition, which develops when the woman is a fetus herself, was not detected when Ashwood was pregnant with her first child. Having a bicornuate uterus does not affect the chances of normal conception, but there is a slightly higher risk of miscarriage.
Ashwood went into premature labour at 28 weeks, but was given medication to delay birth. The twins were eventually delivered safely by caesarean section at 34 weeks, with the first baby, Piran, weighing 5lb 10oz, and the second twin, Poppy, weighing 5lb 3oz.
The babies were kept in hospital for two weeks after birth to receive treatment for jaundice and feeding support. Now at three months old, they are both 'doing really well'.