In an archeological dig, Italian archaeologists have uncovered a medieval grave containing the remains of a woman who was buried near Bologna in Italy, with a 38-week-old fetus lying between her legs. Researchers called it an example of a “coffin birth,Forbes reported.The team from the Universities of Ferrara and Bologna said that ”The fetus was likely partially delivered”.
The mother’s skeletal remains showed a forehead cut and a 5-millimeter hole adjacent to that, likely intentionally drilled during a primitive skull surgery,researchers said. Coffin birth, which the researchers said was the case in this specific case, is a phenomenon that takes place when a deceased pregnant woman’s fetus is expelled within the grave.
Around two to five days after the death of the pregnant woman, the phenomenon, also known as “postmortem fetal extrusion,” occurs following build-up of gas pressure inside the body thus forcing the fetus to be ejected from the vaginal canal. According to researchers in this case, the fetus had already died when the mother was buried.
The case in point was first uncovered back in 2010, when archaeologists found the strange Middle Age burial in Imola in Italy.They also discovered a pile of bones below the pelvis of the skeletal remains of the woman. The woman’s skull had a hole in it making the scene further complicated.
According to the new research, the buried woman is believed to be somewhere between 25 and 35 years old when she died and was buried. The fetus was at 38 weeks of development which is just two weeks less than the time of being full term . The baby’s legs were said to be still inside the mother’s body, however, its head and upper body had dropped below the pelvic cavity. The fetus was already in its head-down orientation and was thus positioned for birth, the researchers explained.