They're said to be born with life-long good luck and have an natural affinity towards water, but babies born en-caul are some of the rarest births in the world today. So rare that many moms have never even heard of it until it happens to them. A caul birth occurs in about 1 in every 80,000 births, and it's defined as a time when the baby is born with a thin membrane still covering their face and body.
Seattle Midwive's student Tiffany Wilson caught this precious baby boy while student Candace Safarli captured this once-in-a-lifetime moment on camera.
In medieval Britain, the birth of a Caulbearer could apparently be predicted in advance by certain ‘wise folk’, and their arrival was generally seen as a good omen. The child was considered blessed, and destined for greatness. The caul itself was highly prized, and was preserved (by drying or smoking) as a charm to ward off evil.
Possession of a caul was said to bestow good fortune upon the owner, and in particular to protect them from drowning (an ability shared with the Caulbearer himself). Up until the early 1900’s, this purported ability made preserved cauls popular talismans amongst sailors, who would use them as bible covers.
In Scotland and Scandanavia, the Caulbearer is attributed with psychic powers. Tibetan Buddhists seek out Caulbearers as future Dalai Lamas, whilst in Egypt the caul-child is considered to be a mystic. The Hmong people believe that Caulbearers are reincarnated monarchs, the sac being part of their past attire, and they will aim to return the preserved caul to the original bearer at their funeral to pass good luck to future incarnations.
So what does the amniotic sac do??
The amniotic sac protects and prepares baby by:
▪ Cushioning any bumps to the abdomen.
▪ Maintaining a constant temperature.
▪ Allowing the movement essential for muscle development.
▪ Creating space for growth.
▪ Protecting against infection – the membranes provide a barrier + the fluid contains antimicrobial peptides.
▪ Assisting lung development – baby breathes fluid in and out of the lungs.
Taste and smell – the smell of amniotic fluid has been found to have a calming effect on newborns (Varendia et al. 1998).
Pretty cool huh?!