AN EXTREMELY premature US baby has been delivered while still inside its amniotic sac, in a rare medical moment.
Doctors at California's Cedars-Sinai Hospital delivered premature baby boy Silas, still inside the fluid bag, 12 weeks ago by Caesarean section.
Cedars-Sinai neonatologist William Binder said: "It was a moment that really did, even though it's a cliché: we caught our breath.
"It really felt like a moment of awe," he told US TV channel CBS Local.
Even though the baby, born at 26 weeks, had left mother Chelsea Phillip's womb, because he was inside the amniotic sac he continued receiving oxygen through the placenta, only taking his first 'proper' breath after doctors broke the sac.
The amniotic sac is a bag of clear liquid, in which the unborn child develops until their birth.
The sac usually breaks at the beginning of child-birth, and is referred to as the mother's water breaking.
In the photograph, Silas's hand can be seen pressed against the sac with the rest of his body just visible through the delicate membrane still surrounding him.
Ms Phillips was unaware her baby had caused an upset in the delivery room until hours afterwards when her mother showed her a photograph taken by one of the doctors present.
The new mother described her son, who is now home and reportedly doing well, as "a little fighter".
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