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Lina Medina: The Youngest Mother in Medical History

Lina Medina was born on September 27, 1933, in Ticrapo, Huancavelica Region, 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. Colretta providing anaesthesia.

Her son weighed 5.9 lbs at birth and was named Gerardo after her doctor. Gerardo was raised believing that Lina was his sister but found out later that she was his mother at the age of ten. He grew up healthy but died in 1979 at the age of 40 of a diseased bone marrow.

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Lina's pregnancy taken in April 1939 / Lina with her 11 months old baby and doctor Dr. Gerardo Lozada

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.

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Dr. Edmundo Escomel

Medina’s case was reported by Dr. Edmundo Escomel (one of Peru’s preeminent physician-researchers) in the medical journal La Presse Médicale.  Escomel noted that her menstrual cycle began at eight months of age and that she had prominent breast development by the age of four. By age five, her figure displayed pelvic widening and advanced bone maturation. When doctors performed the caesarean to deliver her baby, they found she already had fully mature sexual organs from precocious puberty.

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.

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. 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.

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Lina Medina (33) on October 18, 1967

Today, Lina Medina is 78 years old and she still will ‘not’ divulge the identity of Gerardo’s father.

At five years of age, Lina Medina is the youngest confirmed mother in medical history.

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References:

Images: http://www.incrediblebirths.com/Worlds-Youngest-Mother.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lina_Medina

http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/medina.asp 

2 Comments

  1. The doctor beside Lina Medina is my grandfather, Dr. Juan Rolando Colareta Landa (and not Dr. Lozada, as incorrectly shown in this picture that has been posted throughout the internet). I intend to correct this wrong reference. Thank you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • Thank you for your most valuable correction and visit!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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