Lina Medina, seven and a half months into pregnancy.
September 27, 1933|
|Known for||Youngest recorded birth mother.|
May 14, 1939 —1979 (aged 40)
Unknown 2nd son
1972 (age 43–44)
Born in Peru, Lina was brought to a hospital by her parents at the age of 5 years because of increasing abdominal size. She was originally thought to have had a tumor, but her doctors determined she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Dr. Gerardo Lozada took her to Lima, Peru, prior to the surgery to have other specialists confirm that Lina was in fact pregnant. A month and a half later, on May 14, 1939, she gave birth to a boy by a caesarean section necessitated by her small pelvis. The surgery was performed by Dr. Lozada and Dr. Busalleu, with Dr. Colareta providing anaesthesia. Her case was reported in detail by Dr. Edmundo Escomel to La Presse Medicale, along with the additional details that her menarche had occurred at 8 months of age (or 2 1/2 according to a different article), and that she had had prominent breast development by the age of 4. By age 5 her figure displayed pelvic widening and advanced bone maturation.
Her son weighed 2.7 kg (6.0 lb; 0.43 st) at birth and was named Gerardo after her doctor. Gerardo was raised believing that Lina was his sister, but found out at the age of ten that she was his mother. He grew up healthy but died in 1979 at the age of 40 of a disease of the bone marrow.
Lina Medina never revealed the father of the child, nor the circumstances of her impregnation. Dr. Escomel suggested she might not actually know herself by writing that Lina "couldn't give precise responses". Lina's father was arrested on suspicion of rape and incest, but was later released due to lack of evidence. Medina later married Raúl Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. They live in a poor district of Lima known as "Chicago Chico" ("Little Chicago"). She refused an interview with Reuters in 2002.
In young adulthood she worked as a secretary in the Lima clinic of Dr. Gerardo Lozada, the doctor who performed her caesarean section. Lozada gave her an education, and helped put her son through high school.
There are two published photographs documenting the case. The first was taken around the beginning of April 1939, when Medina was seven and a half months into pregnancy. Taken from Medina's left side, it shows her standing naked in front of a neutral backdrop. This is the only published photograph of Lina taken during her pregnancy. This photograph is of significant value because it proves Medina's pregnancy as well as the extent of her physiological development. However, this photograph is not widely known outside medical circles. The other photograph is of far greater clarity and was taken a year later in Lima when Gerardo was eleven months old.
Although the case was called a hoax by some, a number of doctors over the years have verified it based on biopsies, X rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her. Extreme degrees of precocious puberty in children under 5 are very uncommon but not unheard of. Pregnancy and delivery by a child this young remains extremely rare. Extremely precocious puberty is treated to suppress fertility, preserve growth potential, and reduce the social consequences of full sexual development in childhood.
- Escomel, Edmundo (May 13 1939). "La Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Medicale 47(38): 744.
- Escomel, Edmundo (May 31 1939). "La Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Medicale 47(43): 875.
- Escomel, Edmundo (December 19 1939). "L'ovaire de Lina Medina, la Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Medicale 47(94): 1648.
- "Five-and-Half-Year-old Mother and Baby Reported Doing Well". Los Angeles Times: 2. May 16 1939.
- "Physician Upholds Birth Possibility". Los Angeles Times: 2. May 16 1939.
- "U.S. Health Official Returns from Peru". The New York Times: 9. November 15 1939.
- "Mother, 5, to Visit Here". The New York Times: 21. August 8 1940.
- "Wife of Peruvian Envoy Arrives to Join Him Here". The New York Times: 8. July 29 1941.
- "The Mother Peru Forgot". Hamilton Spectator (Spectator Wire Services): B4. August 23 2002.
- "Six decades later, world’s youngest mother awaits aid". The Telegraph. August 27, 2002. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1020827/asp/foreign/story_1140311.asp.
- "Little Mother". Time. May 29, 1939. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,931268,00.html.
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