It's a busy time for actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar this week for his performance in the film "Moonlight." Ali and wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, welcomed their first child on February 22 — just days before the awards ceremony.
Perhaps more unique than his Academy Award win was the way Ali's daughter, Bari Najma Ali, came into the world. In a red carpet interview, the actor told Access Hollywood that the baby was born en caul — a term given to babies born still encased in the amniotic sac.
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"The baby was literally almost out...she came out in a clear bag," Ali said in the interview. "And I'm going, 'Wow, they come brand new.' She was in the sac — it was incredible."
En caul births are rare, according to Dr. Donnica Moore, a women's health expert and advocate.
"An en caul birth is when the baby is delivered completely encased in the amniotic sac — the thin protective membrane which covers them in the womb," Moore told TODAY Parents. "In vaginal births, it is a very rare occurrence, so many obstetricians haven’t seen one."
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EN-CAUL Birth or VEILED Birth In extremely rare cases, the caul can enclose the newborn entirely in what is known as a 'veiled birth' or an 'en-caul birth'. In this case, the sac is never broken and the water is not released until the baby is outside the womb (uterus). 3-In some cultures, babies born with a full caul are considered to be very special and there are various rites to mark such a birth. Among the Yorubas of West Africa, a child born fully enclosed in the caul (sac) is called Oke. In some other cultures, the caul is removed and given to the parents who then preserve it in a special jar or dispose of it themselves by burial or burning. #encaul #veiled #encaulbirth #veiledbirth #rarebirth #extreme #newborn #amnioticsac #babyinsidesac #caulbearer #caulbaby #different #specialgift
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The amniotic sac is a bag of fluid inside the womb where the unborn baby develops and grows. It is also referred to as the ‘membranes’, because the sac is made of two membranes called the amnion and the chorion.The sac is filled with clear, pale fluid, in which the unborn baby floats and moves.The amount of amniotic fluid increases gradually during pregnancy until about week 38, when it reduces slightly until the baby is born. http://www.mommyish.com/2013/06/06/caul-birth-jessica-alba-birth-story/ #caulbaby #jessicaalba #baby #bornbabies #amnioticfluid #amnioticsac #caul #caulbearer #unique #different #special #oneofakind #rarebirth #rare #lucky #omen #kabal
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"Babies aren’t harmed or at any increased risk from an en caul delivery," Moore explained, adding that en caul births are more common when babies are born via c-section. "The membranes protect the baby from birth trauma. In fact, old wives tales and legends say that babies born this way are endowed with special powers of luck, affinity for water and clairvoyance."
Not my usual kind of post but a very special picture to me. This is my son, born in the caul - or amniotic sac. Not a recent pic, he is now a beautiful 9 year old but this topic came up in a discussion I had recently and I got out the pic to show a friend. I think it's amazing to see them all curled up in there like that and I will cherish this photo forever. Incidentally, this is number two of a twin caesarean birth. Apologies if some find the pic a bit graphic 🙊#caul #caulbaby #birth #ceasarean #son #birthphotography #amazing #nature #motherhood #momentcaptured
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from the talents of @melissacatephotography. Caul births are intriguing to see and more common when midwives or OB's don’t perform AROM’s (Artificial Rupture of Membranes) routinely. #humanbirth #caul #waterbirth @humanbirthproject
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So cool! I've seen maybe 5-6 babies born in the 8 years I've been a #doula. About half of them were water births and half were land. One I helped catch myself because the midwife wasn't there yet! I've also dried them to make #caul jewelry. It supposedly means baby will be clairvoyant and never drown 😉 💦📷 @shooglet
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Leilani Rogers, a Texas birth photographer, recently captured an en caul birth through her camera lens. "It was only the 3rd or 4th photo out of my camera and it happened so fast I didn’t even see it with my own eyes," said Rogers. "Once I had a chance to scroll back through and see what I had captured, I was just in awe — such a rare and magical moment."
Almost done bugging you all. But I know you love this image and it deserves to win! Vote and share. Thank you thank you thank you. http://tinyurl.com/k8wtk8n #encaul #twinhomebirth #imageoftheyear #birthphotography #austinbirthphotographer #leilanirogersphotographer #preservehappy
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Moore says an often-quoted statistic from Wikipedia claims that en caul births only occur in about 1 in every 80,000 births, adding that this statistic may include caul births — births where babies are born with part of the amniotic membranes on their face or head — making true en caul births even more rare.
While the circumstances surrounding baby Bari's birth were unique, Ali sounds just like every other parent when talking about new fatherhood.
"Oh my gosh, she's so beautiful — I'm so in love with her," Ali said in the interview. "I'm so tired."