What is the long­est some­one has been preg­nant for? Asked by Fiona West

Guru Magazine - - Ask A Guru - An­swered by James Crewdson

The cur­rent record of the long­est ever suc­cess­ful preg­nancy goes to Beu­lah Hunter and her daugh­ter Penny from Los An­ge­les. While a nor­mal hu­man preg­nancy lasts for around 266 days, Mrs Hunter’s preg­nancy in 1945 lasted for 375 days – a whop­ping 109 days over­due. Dr. Daniel Beltz of the Los An­ge­les Methodist Hos­pi­tal, who treated Mrs Beu­lah, con­firmed the date when she first tested pos­i­tive and the date of birth. He was quoted as say­ing that the ex­ces­sively long preg­nancy was due to un­usu­ally slow de­vel­op­ment of the foe­tus. The baby was de­scribed as of healthy weight when born, had a nor­mal de­vel­op­ment and went on to lead a healthy life. Bear in mind that, as with all records of a med­i­cal kind, the va­lid­ity of this claim is ques­tion­able. Some ar­gue that it could be two sep­a­rate preg­nan­cies adding up to a longer time pe­riod. The first could have mis­car­ried and then been di­rectly fol­lowed by a sec­ond suc­cess­ful preg­nancy. Another idea is that the date for the start of the preg­nancy could be wrong. The date was taken from the missed pe­riod prior to test­ing pos­i­tive, but this could be due to a spon­ta­neously missed pe­riod and a false pos­i­tive test. In 1945, the preg­nancy test in­volved in­ject­ing the preg­nant woman’s urine into a mouse and ob­serv­ing any hor­mone-re­lated changes. While this was an ef­fec­tive test, it is less ac­cu­rate than to­day’s test and could con­ceiv­ably have falsely come up pos­i­tive. If she then got preg­nant in the fol­low­ing few weeks, it would ap­pear that the baby had an ex­cep­tion­ally long ges­ta­tional pe­riod. How­ever, this is all spec­u­la­tion and we will prob­a­bly never know the ex­act length of the preg­nancy. While that preg­nancy was long, it isn’t the long­est time be­tween con­cep­tion it­self and birth. In May 2003, a boy and a girl were born 13 years af­ter be­ing con­ceived. In late 1990, a cou­ple from Jerusalem, who had in­fer­til­ity is­sues, had em­bryos cryo­geni­cally frozen for use at a later date. Twelve whole years later, th­ese em­bryos were im­planted in the mother and she gave birth to a boy and a girl, weigh­ing 5 pounds each.

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