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40 year-old 'stone baby' found in elderly woman's abdomen

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An elderly Columbian woman in her eighties suffering from pelvic pain was found to be suffering from symptoms created by a forty-year old pregnancy of which she was not aware, according to ABC News, Dec. 14, 2013. The extremely rare condition of which there have only been 300 cases in recorded medical literature, is called lithopedion. The condition occurs when a pregnancy occurs in the abdomen rather than the uterus. The mother is unaware of the fetus in the abdomen because there are no symptoms, pain or other complications during the pregnancy.

Eventually the fetus becomes calcified as the body treats it as it does any other foreign object in the body. The body has an inadequate blood supply to the fetus in the abdomen and it is unable to expel the fetus or to give birth to it. The fetus eventually turns to stone, or hardens. The 'stone baby' fetus goes unnoticed for many years unless doctors find it while probing for other symptoms.

According to Dr. Kim Garsci of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, the calcification process that takes place when the lithopedion is formed, actually occurs quite frequently as the body tries to dispel other types of foreign objects from the body. Garsci describes the process as the body's way of keeping itself healthy.

The Columbian woman is expected to undergo surgery to remove the 'stone baby' very soon.

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