Pregnancy stock in Sydney, Tuesday, March 26, 2013. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING

Photo said to show woman carrying quadruplets is hard to stomach

AAP FactCheck June 17, 2021

The Statement

A Facebook post that features a photo of a woman with a monstrously swollen belly claims the image shows a pregnant mother carrying quadruplets.

“Please, I need your prayers because the Doctor has tested me and it has declared that I have four babies in my stomach. Don’t be heartless and ignore without Sharing my picture to reach more people for their prayers,” the meme’s text reads.

The June 1 post was from a user in Papua New Guinea. Earlier versions of the same meme have drawn thousands of interactions, with one post from October 2020 attracting more than 40,000 shares.

A Facebook post
 A meme on Facebook claims to show a pregnant mother carrying four babies. 

The Analysis

The photo in the Facebook meme does not show a pregnant mother carrying four babies – rather, it’s of a woman in Vietnam who had a giant ovarian cyst removed.

Several news sites covered the woman’s operation in May 2018 using the same image. English-language newspaper Viet Nam News reported that the woman, whose name was not disclosed, was a 39-year-old from An Giang Province who had been diagnosed with a non-malignant ovarian cyst in 2014. Doctors had not operated at the time because of unrelated but life-threatening medical issues.

The cyst grew bigger over the following four years to the point of making breathing difficult and causing the woman severe stomach pain, the report said. A decision was made to conduct life-saving surgery at the University Medical Centre in Ho Chi Minh City and the woman underwent a successful six-hour operation to remove the cyst. The report credits the medical centre for the photo.

Another local news report said the cyst contained 48 litres of fluid and was the fifth largest in the world. Another report and a photo of the operation was published here. Several ovarian cysts weighing more than 50kg have been reportedly removed in various countries, including one that weighed more than 137kg.

The meme, with the associated claim that the image shows a woman pregnant with quadruplets, began to circulate on social media after it was shared to a Facebook comedy page in September 2020.

While the photo is not what is claimed in the meme, quadruplet births do occur – although they are rare. A US ABC News report on the birth of identical quadruplets in August 2007 said the chances of having quadruplets was about one in 800,000, while the chances of having a set of identical quadruplets was one in 11 million to 15 million.

According to a 2014 blog by the Jackson Health System in Miami, quadruplets conceived naturally occurred in about one in 700,000 pregnancies. The vast majority of quadruplets were conceived with the help of medical technology, it said.

In May last year, a US woman gave birth to identical monochorionic quadruplets, of which there are only 72 cases recorded in medical literature, according to her obstetrician.

The record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive is held by California woman Nadya Suleman, aka “Octomom”, who gave birth to six boys and two girls in 2009. They were conceived using IVF treatment and born nine weeks premature by caesarean section.

A pregnant woman
 The photo in the Facebook post does not show a pregnant mother carrying four babies. 

The Verdict

The photo in the meme post is not a woman carrying four babies, as claimed, but a Vietnamese woman with a giant ovarian cyst. News reports from 2018, two years before the meme first emerged on Facebook, feature the same image alongside a story about the woman, who had a 50kg cyst removed from her body.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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