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Caul births

A caul is a membrane that may cover a newborn’s head at birth, but it is absolutely nothing to worry about as it is harmless and easily removed by your doctor or midwife.

The caul membrane can either be part of the amnion of the amniotic sac or a separate membrane which forms during your pregnancy. The amnion is usually slipped off, while the separate membrane is a bit thicker so a little bit trickier to remove. Your physician or midwife will first cut slits by your baby’s nasal passages and then, starting from the ears, slowly peel the membrane back. Slits are made near the nasal passages of your baby so your physician can take his time without worrying if your baby can breathe, because if the membrane is removed too quickly it can tear your baby’s skin. Sometimes a special paper is used to make sure removal is smooth.

A caul birth is different to an en-caul birth in which your baby is born completely in her amniotic sac. Again, this is harmless and easily removed at birth and often part of a premature birth. In total, only 1 out of every 80,000 births are either caul or en-caul, so it is very rare.

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