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Fact-Check: Was a baby born holding the mother’s failed IUD?

A REPORT alluding that a newborn baby was born holding the mother’s intrauterine device, IUD, has gone viral on the social media.

Aside the social media, different variations of the report alluding that the child came out of the womb holding the device abound on blogs and some news websites.

Tuko, a platform that describes itself as one of Kenya’s leading news site has a variation of the report with the headline  “Defiant baby comes out of womb tightly holding mum’s failed IUD in his hand”.

The report had garnered over 82,000 views on the website as at Monday noon (July 20).

THE CLAIM

The baby came out of its mother’s womb holding her failed IUD in his hand.

THE FINDINGS

The ICIR was able to trace the origin of the picture to the Facebook page of Hai Phong International General Hospital.

On June 30, 2020, the hospital, located in the city of Hai Phong in northern Vietnam, posted two photos of a newborn baby holding an IUD device and a third photo with the device by the side.

As at Monday noon when this report was filed, the photo has received over 3,600 likes, garnered over 3,900 comments and had been shared over 4,400 times on the page.

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Dr Tran Viet Phuong, one of the heads of the hospital’s obstetrics department where the child was born told a Vietnamese Newspaper – VN Express International – that when the boy was born, the device came out with him and he grabbed it.

The IUD came out at the same time as the baby, but separately – it was only after being born that the infant grabbed the coil, the newspaper reported.

Phuong said “After delivery, I thought him holding the device was interesting, so I took a picture. I never thought it would receive so much attention.”

An IUD is a birth control device placed in the uterus, it prevents the sperm from fertilising an egg.

“But it does not have a 100 percent success rate,” said Phuong. “Upon its insertion, the device might have been moved from its original position and thus was no longer effective,” the doctor explained.

Dr. Malachy Emeka Ayogu, an obstetrician and gynecologist (OBGYN) at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada in Nigeria, told The ICIR that “nothing is impossible in medicine but it is very rare for pregnancy to occur with IUD in situ.”

Dr. Ayogu warned that people should be “mindful of this era of photoshopping where images can be manipulated to mean anything.”

He stated that “Failure rate for IUD failure is actually less than 1%”

On the claim that the baby was born holding the birth control device, he said “It is difficult to explain how a baby could hold an IUD on the palm after all the processes involved in the mechanism of labour unless Caesarean delivery was the option. In fact, it can’t be explained scientifically.”

This isn’t the first time that similar post will go viral on social media alluding that a baby was born holding the mother’s birth control device.

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In 2017, Snopes did a report about a photo that went viral with a misleading caption. The mother had posted a picture of her newborn holding a Mirena-brand birth control device along with the caption “Mirena Fail.”

The image was later re-shared to mean the baby was born holding the IUD.

Dr. Leena Nathan, an OBGYN and assistant clinical professor for the University of California at Los Angeles in the report said it would be impossible, however, for a newborn to be delivered holding such a device because there would be no way for the IUD to get inside the amniotic sac, a fluid-filled membrane that envelops a foetus while it grows inside the womb.

THE VERDICT

From the evidence presented above, the claim that the child came out from the mother’s womb holding the IUD, is therefore, FALSE.

UPDATE:

Tuko has corrected the report on its website reflecting that the baby was not born clutching on the IUD but it came out separately, he just grabbed it later (https://www.tuko.co.ke/367063-factchecked-viral-baby-born-holding-mums-iud-hand)

The news platform in a communication with The ICIR said “the error was not intentional.”

It stated that “We offer our apologies and assurance that the error was not intentional as we strive to feed our audience with facts-based stories at all times”.

This story is updated on Sunday July 26, 2020.

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