Lina Marcela Medina de Jurado (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlina meˈðina]; born 23 September 1933) is a Peruvian woman who became the youngest confirmed mother in history, giving birth at age five years, seven months, and 21 days. Based on the medical assessments of her pregnancy, she was less than five years old when she became pregnant. She is also believed to be the youngest documented case of precocious puberty.
|Born||23 September 1933|
|Known for||Youngest confirmed mother in history|
|Spouse(s)||Raúl Jurado (m. 1970s)|
Early life and development
Her parents brought her to a hospital in Pisco at age five due to increasing abdominal size. Doctors originally thought that she had a tumor, but they then determined that she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Dr Gerardo Lozada took her to Lima to have other specialists confirm that she was pregnant.
Newspaper accounts indicate that interest in the case developed on many fronts. The San Antonio Light newspaper in Texas reported in its 16 July 1939 edition that a Peruvian obstetrician and midwife association had demanded that she be transported to a national maternity hospital. The paper quoted reports in the Peruvian paper La Crónica that an American film studio had sent down a representative "with authority to offer the sum of $5,000 to benefit the minor" in exchange for filming rights, but "we know that the offer was rejected". The article noted that Lozada had made films of Medina for scientific documentation and had shown them while addressing Peru's National Academy of Medicine; some baggage carrying the films had fallen into a river on a visit to the girl's hometown, but enough of his "pictorial record" remained to "intrigue the learned savants".
A month and a half after the original diagnosis, Medina gave birth to a boy by caesarean section. She was 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days old, the youngest person in history to give birth. The caesarean birth was necessitated by her small pelvis. The surgery was performed by Lozada and Dr Busalleu, with Dr Colareta providing anaesthesia. The doctors found that she already had fully mature sexual organs from precocious puberty. Dr. Edmundo Escomel reported her case in the medical journal La Presse Médicale, including the additional details that her menarche had occurred at eight months of age, in contrast to a past report stating that she had been having regular periods since she was three years old (or 2 1⁄2 according to a different article).
Medina's son weighed 2.7 kg (6.0 lb; 0.43 st) at birth and was named Gerardo after her doctor. He was raised believing that Medina was his sister, but he found out at age 10 that she was his mother.
Identity of the father and later life
Medina has never revealed the father of the child nor the circumstances of her impregnation. Escomel suggested that she might not actually know herself, as she "couldn't give precise responses". Lina's father was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse, but he was released due to lack of evidence, and the biological father was never identified. Her son grew up healthy. He died in 1979 at the age of 40 from a bone marrow disease.
In young adulthood, Medina worked as a secretary in the Lima clinic of Lozada, which gave her an education and helped put her son through high school. She married Raúl Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. As of 2002[update], they lived in a poor neighborhood of Lima known as "Little Chicago" ("Chicago Chico", a rental enclave in the Surquillo district). She refused an interview with Reuters that year, just as she had turned away many reporters in years past.
Although it was speculated that the case was a hoax, a number of doctors over the years have verified it based on biopsies, X rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her.
There are two published photographs documenting the case. The first was taken around the beginning of April 1939, when Medina was seven-and-a-half months into pregnancy. Taken from Medina's left side, it shows her standing naked in front of a neutral backdrop. This is the only published photograph of Lina taken during her pregnancy.
In 1955, except for the effects of precocious puberty, there was no explanation of how a girl less than five years old could conceive a child. Extreme precocious pregnancy in children aged five or under has only been documented with Medina.
- Mikkleson, David (7 February 2015). "Youngest Mother". Snopes. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "Six decades later, world's youngest mother awaits aid". The Telegraph. Kolkata. 27 August 2002. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Elgar Brown (for Chicago Evening American). "American scientists await U.S. visit of youngest mother: Peruvian girl and baby will be exhibited". San Antonio Light, 11 July 1939, page 2A.
- "5-Year-Old Gives Birth: 14 May 1939". History Channel Australia. Archived from the original on 2019-04-16. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- Elgar Brown (for Chicago Evening American). "Wide sympathy aroused by plight of child-mother: opportunity seen to make Lina independent". San Antonio Light, 16 July 1939, page 4.
- Janice Delaney; Mary Jane Lupton; Emily Toth (1988). The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation (2nd (revised) ed.). University of Illinois Press. p. 51. ISBN 0252014529. Archived from the original on 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
- Rodney P. Shearman (1985). Clinical reproductive endocrinology. Churchill Livingstone. p. 401. ISBN 0443026459.
In a number of instances, precocious pregnancies at a very early age have been reported. The striking example is that of Lina Medina, who had a Caesarean section when 5 1⁄2 years old, but there have been other pregnancies in children aged 6, 7, 8 and 9 years (Sickel, 1946).
- Lincolins, Thiago (12 October 2019). "Grávida aos 5 anos: A trágica vida de Lina Medina". Aventuras na História (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 October 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
- Luis Leon (30 October 1955). "Son of child mother wants to be doctor". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Associated Press. p. 18. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- Henry Dietz (15 July 1998). Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the State: Lima, 1970–1990. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8229-7193-1. Archived from the original on 24 July 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
- The Journal of Medical-physical Research: A Journal of Progressive Medicine and Physical Therapies, Volumes 15–16. American Association for Medico-Physical Research. 1941. p. 188.
Lina Medina... Dear Dr. Eales: 'We are pleased to give you permission to publish the story of Lina Medina' ... An x-ray examination revealed a foetal skeleton and left no doubt as to a positive uterine gestation.
- Ashley Montagu (1979). The reproductive development of the female: a study in the comparative physiology of the adolescent organism. PSG Publishing Company. p. 137. ISBN 0884162184.
- "La Presse médicale", 47(43): 875, 1939 Archived 2017-03-27 at the Wayback Machine "La Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". (31 May 1939).
- Escomel, Edmundo (13 May 1939). "La Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Médicale. 47 (38): 744.
- Escomel, Edmundo (31 May 1939). "La Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Médicale. 47 (43): 875.
- Escomel, Edmundo (19 December 1939). "L'ovaire de Lina Medina, la Plus Jeune Mère du Monde". La Presse Médicale. 47 (94): 1648.
- "Five-and-Half-Year-old Mother and Baby Reported Doing Well". Los Angeles Times: 2. 16 May 1939.
- "Physician Upholds Birth Possibility". Los Angeles Times: 2. 16 May 1939.
- "U.S. Health Official Returns from Peru". The New York Times: 9. 15 November 1939.
- "Mother, 5, to Visit Here". The New York Times: 21. 8 August 1940.
- "Wife of Peruvian Envoy Arrives to Join Him Here". The New York Times: 8. 29 July 1941.
- "The Mother Peru Forgot". The Hamilton Spectator. Spectator Wire Services: B4. 23 August 2002.