The Magic of Veiled Births

Veiled births are a very particular type of birth where the little ones come into the world with the amniotic sac intact.
The Magic of Veiled Births
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 13 January, 2022

People say that veiled births have some magic and that the children born this way will be lucky in the future. However, beyond popular beliefs, these unique births, also known as en caul or mermaid births, are a very particular type of event, as the child comes into the world with the amniotic sac intact: An exceptional fact that always attracts a lot of attention.

According to experts, these types of births are extremely rare, occurring with a frequency of 1 in 80,000. If this fact is already striking in itself, we can add the fact that today, deliveries are increasingly formal, meaning that the possibilities of a natural delivery where these types of events occur are further limited.

Blanket babies in this age of cameras and social media are always on the news. Therefore, almost all of us have already seen more than one video of these cases, where we’re fascinated above all by how calm the baby seems inside the amniotic sac. It’s as if they’re perfectly content where they are and are in no rush to get out of their little world of peace and balance.

In “You are mom” we want to talk to you about this type of birth, why it happens, and what interesting facts are associated with them.

Veiled births and the Amniotic Sac

One of the main warnings that our body gives us when we’re about to give birth is our water breaking. As contractions begin with greater strength and regularity, it’s normal for the membrane that forms the amniotic sac to rupture.

It’s a painless event, however, it’s not something that all moms experience. There are women whose water will break during the birth itself and not before, and a lucky few will see with their own eyes how their children come into the world still inside the amniotic sac.

Gynecology and obstetrics experts tell us that the act of coming into the world with the amniotic sac intact doesn’t imply any greater benefit, nor does it imply a disadvantage for the little one. It’s nothing more than a unique and beautiful situation where, yes, that step in which the child must begin to breathe on their own, without the amniotic fluid, is delayed a little more.

A baby born with the amniotic sac intact.

Interesting facts regarding the amniotic sac

The amniotic sac grows as the fetus itself grows. It’s a seemingly fragile membrane, however, it’s much more resistant than we think. It’s made up of two layers and, in turn, lacks muscles, nerves, vessels, and blood. What gives it resistance are collagen and elastin.

  • The two layers that form it are the amnion and the chorion, the latter being the outer and the thickest.
  • In regard to amniotic fluid, we know that it begins to form from the second week after conception. After about 10 weeks, it’s rich in proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and phospholipids, urea, and electrolytes, which help the development of the fetus.
  • It’s the liquid also helps cushion the baby from potential bumps and injuries. In addition, it provides adequate mechanisms for breathing and swallowing, in turn, providing a stable temperature.
  • However, in the final weeks, the amniotic fluid is made up of various fetal blood cells, lanugo hair, and vernix, a type of fat that covers and protects the baby’s skin. In turn, and in these last days before delivery, this liquid is made up almost entirely of the urine itself produced by the baby when emptying its bladder.
A baby in the womb.

What the rupture of the amniotic sac means for the baby

  • A ruptured amniotic sac is still stressful for the baby. We can’t forget that, during pregnancy, the fetus has its lungs full of water. Their breathing is carried out by gas exchange through the placenta.
  • However, during childbirth, and once the amniotic sac ruptures, all the fluid in the lungs is reabsorbed or expelled through the mouth so that the newborn can take its first breath. This is complex for the baby.
  • However, during a vaginal delivery, when passing through the birth canal, the chest of the child is pressed, and this already helps it to eliminate pulmonary fluid, mucus, and amniotic fluid. Something that doesn’t usually happen during a cesarean section.

En caul babies, meanwhile, enjoy a moment of tranquility when they arrive in the world with their sac intact. The reason why this occurs, or why 1 in 80,000 amniotic sacs don’t rupture, remains a mystery to this day. Although this has always been a reason for superstitions and traditions that we’ll explain to you below.

An en caul birth.

Veiled births and the traditional beliefs attributed to them

Children born by veiled births, as we’ve pointed out before, don’t enjoy greater or lesser advantages than other children born in an ordinary way. Doctors tell us that this type of birth neither benefits nor harms the newborn. However, since ancient times, it’s been thought that these little ones came into the world with more protection than the rest and that therefore, they could develop unusual abilities.

  • Tradition says that these babies become “healers.” That is, in people who can heal. However, this ability could be lost if the parents or the children themselves revealed to others that their birth was veiled.
  • It’s also said that these little ones enjoy certain blessings, that their lives will be fortunate, and that it will be in their nature to do good.

As you can see, they’re beliefs endowed with a certain magic and beauty that give even more mystery to these little ones and that show us once again how beautiful childbirth can be.

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