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See Why UK Mum,Bethan Simpson Opted For Groundbreaking Fetal Surgery

See Why UK Mum,Bethan Simpson Opted For Groundbreaking Fetal Surgery

A mum-to-be, Bethan Simpson, of Maldon,Essex, underwent a trailblazing surgery in which surgeons removed her unborn baby from the womb to operate on it then put it back. The 26-year-old Bethan was 20 weeks pregnant and went for her routine scan, when she was told her baby had spina bifida, a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord.

Bethan and her husband Kieron were given three options: continue the pregnancy as is, terminate the pregnancy, or opt for a fetal surgery. The couple chose the third option making the fourth patient to undergo the pioneering surgery in the UK according to BBC.

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In a Facebook post, Bethan said:

“We had to do it. We also had to meet some seriously strict criteria. Me and baby went through amniocentesis and MRI and relentless scans.

We got approved on the 17th December we planned for surgery. Our lives were such a roller coaster for the next few weeks.”

It was in December, 2018 that the would-be parents got the news of their child’s birth defect, but Bethan and her unborn child underwent the fetal surgery on January 8, 2019 after a series of tests and scans.

The operation at 24 weeks involved opening her womb and lifting her baby into position to repair the hole, as well as repositioning the baby’s spinal cord.

“I came out of surgery at one o’clock and could feel her moving that evening, It was reassuring to feel that first kick after the anaesthetic wore off.

She’s bigger now, of course, and her kicks are stronger.”

Bethan said.

Mrs Simpson said she remembered the surgeon telling her on the ward later: “I’ve held your baby.”

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Bethan had the specialised surgery at the University College London Hospital (UCLH), where both mum and baby were worked on by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to repair the baby’s spine, according to reports.

This surgery gives the baby a significantly better chance in life compared to the postnatal surgery – babies born with spina bifida are often not able to walk and require many operations throughout their lives, such as having to have fluid drained from the brain.

The surgery comes with a certain amount of risk as the baby is removed from the womb to be operated on, but fortunately for Bethan and her baby the operation was deemed a success.

Simpson considers her daughter, who is due in April, to be “extra special.”

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