This newborn baby was photographed holding his mother’s birth control coil in his hand after she had been using it but became pregnant anyway.
Paula dos Santos Escudero Alvarez, 32, gave birth to her second child, Bernardo, in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on Jul 4.
Bernardo was born healthy at 36 weeks, weighing 7 pounds and measuring 19 inches.
Birth photographer Michelle Oliveira described the newborn as a “miracle” because his mother was using an intrauterine device (IUD), or coil, for three years.
“I’ve been a birth photographer for over five years. My inspiration is to make moments into memories for the family, especially for the baby, build stories, and create fond memories,” Oliveira said. “The IUD was placed in his little hand to represent his arrival. The baby was born, the IUD was removed straight away, and the doctor placed it in his little hand.”
The pregnancy rate for women using IUDs is just 0.6 percent, according to obstetrician Beatriz Tupinamba.
In most pregnancies involving coils, doctors try to remove the device at the earliest possible opportunity. However, in Paula’s case, it was not possible, because the wire was not visible.
IUD strings are usually visible from the cervix, which is where the doctor would typically remove it from.
The risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and infection before delivery is significantly higher when IUDs are kept in place during a pregnancy compared to pregnancies where the device is removed, according to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
While IUD removal generally improves the pregnancy outcome, there is still a much higher risk of complications compared to patients who never had one in the first place.
Sometimes, the IUD strings curl up into the cervix, making it less visible. When that occurs, doctors will use a small tool to grasp the strings or use an ultrasound to guide them to the device. But when the uterus has grown along with the fetus, sometimes the device cannot be reached.
In that case, the only option is to leave the device in place. Otherwise, there’s a high risk of injuring the mother or the pregnancy.
But this was not Paula’s first “miracle” child; her older son Gabriel was born when she was on oral contraceptives, also known as “the pill.”
If used exactly as instructed, the estimated risk of getting pregnant while on the combined oral contraceptive pill is just 0.3 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
“I repeat that when He wants something, nothing will get in His way. This arrival was beautiful and exciting. What a joy to share this rarity! Welcome, Bernardo!” Oliveira said on her Instagram.
(Edited by Izzy Angeli and Kristen Butler)