The woman’s operation was believed to be the first known case of a self-inflicted Caesarean in which both the mother and baby survived.
The unidentified woman who lived in a rural area of Mexico without electricity or running water stays eight hours from the nearest hospital.
The woman performed the operation when she could not deliver the baby on her own, having lost a previous baby due to labour complications.
Dr R Valle, of the Dr Manuel Velasco Suarez Hospital in San Pablo, Mexico, said: “She took three small glasses of hard liquor and, using a kitchen knife, sliced her abdomen in three attempts and delivered a male infant that breathed immediately and cried.”
Before she lost consciousness, the woman told one of her children to call a local nurse for help.
The local nurse stitched the wound with a sewing needle and cotton thread, before transferring the mother and baby to be treated by Dr. Valle and his colleagues at the nearest hospital.
“This case represents an unusual and extraordinary decision by a woman in labour who, unable to deliver herself spontaneously, and with no medical help or resources, decided to perform a caesarean section upon herself,” he said.
He added that a mother’s instinct to save her child can move a woman to perform extraordinary acts but said it would not have been necessary if adequate medical care had been available.
According to Professor James Walker, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, he had heard of cases in the past where farmers had performed Caesareans on their wives after having previously carried out the operation on animals.
But he said it would not happen now. “In this country, there is virtually never a situation when an individual is totally isolated from medical care even in the most outlying areas.”
Dr. Valle believes the event would convince authorities of the importance of accessible healthcare.