What is a Caul Birth?

There have been a lot of amazing photos doing the rounds on the internet recently showing en-caul births. If you’re not sure what it is or how it actually works, then read on!

Generally speaking, a baby can be born caul or en-caul.

Caul Birth

If you have a caul birth, it will mean that a piece of the amnion still attached to your baby’s head or face. A caul birth is very rare, occurring in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births.

En-Caul Birth

An en-caul birth is where a baby is born completely inside its amniotic sac. The amniotic sac balloons out at birth with the baby remaining inside of the unbroken membrane. This generally occurs in premature births as the baby is small and the amniotic sac is not stretched. En-caul births are more common than an authentic caul birth due to the high caesarean section rate associated with premature babies.


Although it may look a bit alien-like, some cultures consider a caul birth very lucky. There is a lot of superstition surrounding caul births. Marine or fishing based families believe that if you are born caul then you will never drown. It is easy to see from the photos why this is the case.

Will it harm your baby?

Not at all. It is harmless and will be immediately removed by your Obstetrician or Midwife. The amniotic tissue is easily slipped away from the baby whereas thicker membrane is more complex and requires careful removal so as not to damage your baby’s delicate skin.

Check out more caul birth photos on our Pinterest board.

Will my baby drown?

No. This is where your baby has lived for 9 months. You baby breathes underwater as oxygen is fed through the umbilical cord.

Did you know there are two layers to the amniotic sac?

So, without getting too technical – during pregnancy, your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, in the amniotic sac. Normally during labour, your ‘waters break’ – that is, the amniotic sac breaks and out flows the amniotic fluid. This can flow out as a trickle (you may think you have pee’d yourself) or a gush.

The two layers to the amniotic sac are the amnion and the chorion. One sac attaches straight to the side of the placenta and the more internal sac (the amnion runs along the top of the placenta and is the one with the cord.

The cord is straight into the placenta (usually) which attaches to the uterine wall.

Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, or motherhood.  Find out more useful information on related topics by clicking on the Blog button below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.