Science : Lithopedia - being pregnant with a stone baby

Lithopedia - being pregnant with a stone baby

A lithopedion, or stone baby, is a rare phenomenon which occurs most commonly when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy, is too large to be reabsorbed by the body, and calcifies on the outside as part of a foreign body reaction, shielding the mother's body from the dead tissue of the fetus and preventing infection.

Lithopedia may occur from 14 weeks gestation to full term. It is not unusual for a stone baby to remain undiagnosed for decades and to be found well after natural menopause; diagnosis often happens when the patient is examined for other conditions that require being subjected to an X-ray study.

According to one report there are only 300 known cases of lithopedia in the world, recorded in over 400 years of medical literature. While the chance of abdominal pregnancy is one in 11,000 pregnancies, only between 1.5 and 1.8% of these abdominal pregnancies may develop into lithopedia
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