A 10-year-old Colombian girl gave birth to a healthy baby girl, making her one of the youngest mothers ever. The unnamed girl from Manaure, a town in the Colombian Department of La Guajira, arrived at the hospital in tears and "enormous pain" from the contractions, according to Univision's Primer Impacto. She reportedly delivered her daughter, who weighed 5 pounds, by cesarean section.
Experts say a C-section delivery for such a young mother is not unusual.
"The baby's head needs to come through a bony outlet. But in a young girl, the pelvis may not be ready or big enough to deliver a baby," said Dr. Kimberly Gecsi, an OB/GYN at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
Extremely young mothers also have a higher risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure known as preeclampsia, and their babies are at risk for fetal growth restriction, according to Dr. Frederick Gonzalez, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
"These girls are not ready to be pregnant. Their bodies are not mature," said Gonzalez. "They may be able to get pregnant, but being able to have a baby is a whole other situation."
The new mom is a member of the Wayuu people, an indigenous tribe in northern Colombia. The age of the father is unknown, but police can't press charges because the tribe has its own jurisdiction, according to local reports.
"We've already seen several cases [of pregnancy] in girls of the Wayuu ethnicity," Efraín Pacheco Casadiego, director of the hospital where the girl gave birth, told RCN La Radio noticias. "When in fact [the girls] should be playing with dolls, they are having to care for a baby. This is shocking."
Pregnancy can occur as soon as a girl starts ovulating, which is happening at ever younger ages.
"The average age girls in the country start menstruating is about 12 and a half, but that age keeps dropping," said Gecsi, adding that the age is even lower among Hispanic girls. "But only about 13 percent of Hispanic girls menstruate younger than 11. And for them to have a sexual experience would be very unusual."
Because ovulation precedes menstruation, girls can get pregnant before ever having a period.
"Typically, menstruation is the last thing that happens in puberty," said Gesci, adding that girls typically go through a growth spurt and develop breasts and pubic hair before menstruating. "If you notice those things, you could be about to menstruate and you could get pregnant."