Superstition and science clash as woman gives birth to 'fish'

Pregnant woman looking at ultrasound scan pictures of her baby. A woman in Kilifi says she gave birth to a ‘fish’ on Wednesday night. [Courtesy]
It was a clash between science and superstition in Shariani location in Kilifi County after a middle-aged woman reportedly gave birth to a live "fish".

Medical officers, however described the condition as a molar pregnancy caused by an unfertilised egg while the woman insisted it was a spell.

Villagers flocked Sarah Mbeyu Jabiri's homestead in numbers to catch a glimpse of what came out of her body.

“I started bleeding on Thursday last week, before developing severe stomachache akin to labour pains. By Sunday the pain stopped, but I continued bleeding until Wednesday night when I felt something in my abdomen and decided to push the mass out,” she said.

Jabiri who is in her early 30s and a mother of five was shocked to see what had come out of her body and called her mother.

“I was not pregnant at all. I was still with my clothes and so rushed to pick a basin so that I could drop it there, but it was late and I released it on the ground. The creature had eyes and a fish-like tail. I was shocked to see it,” she said.

Kilifi County Medical Superintendent Dr Eddy Nzomo said they suspect the woman had developed molar pregnancy.

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He said the condition is more likely in women above 35 or below 20.

“This is not witchcraft but a condition in the world of science. It happens when a woman gets pregnant, then the placenta develops complications and starts growing abnormally forming a mass in the uterus. With time, the body sees it as foreign material and removes it from the uterus,” he said.

He said the patient has been referred to the Kilifi County Hospital for more tests, scans and cleaning of the womb.

“The condition happens before the 27th week of pregnancy (7months). Apart from age, women with history of molar pregnancy are victims. One will undergo abdominal pains if she has missed her monthly period and suspects to be pregnant, vaginal bleeding where the blood is crampy and resembles grapefruits. The muscle swells and can resembles a five to six months old pregnancy,” he said.

Dr Nzomo urged expectant mothers to regularly visit health facilities.

Jabiri, who was still in denial said the extract resembles a type of fish called ‘totovu’ which is never eaten.

“That is what I ‘gave birth’ to and I thank God for saving me...  I want the doctor to check it and tell me what it is,” she said.

Her husband was not at home when she delivered only to return home with a friend to find her wife with the creature.

“His friend only took some pictures and he left. My husband had nothing to say,” she said.

Jabiri’s 55-year-old mother said it was shocking experience for them.

“We took the creature and put it in a bucket filled with water and it started swinging its tail. I was shocked by what has happened to my daughter. She gave birth safely without any complications,” she said.

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Sarah Mbeyu JabiriMolar pregnancyDelivering fishSuperstition