University of Oulu

Väre, T., Lipkin, S., Kallio-Seppä, T., Tranberg, A., & Junno, J.-A. (2021). Possible case of partial postmortem fetal extrusion: Preliminary observations on the mummified remains of a turn-of-the-19th-century noblewoman in Finland. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 31(6), 1280–1284.

Possible case of partial postmortem fetal extrusion : preliminary observations on the mummified remains of a turnof-the-19th-century noblewoman in Finland

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Author: Väre, Tiina1,2; Lipkin, Sanna1; Kallio-Seppä, Titta1;
Organizations: 1Archeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Cancer Research and Translational Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 27.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-21


We report a plausible case of partial postmortem fetal extrusion dating to the turn of the 19th century. A fetal skull protruded from the obstetric canal of the partially mummified remains of an adult woman buried in a private burial chapel in Vihti, South Finland. The fetal size implies the mother having died during the early third trimester of her pregnancy. The cause of death was not obvious from the limited external examination of her remains, but the underdeveloped state of the fetal remains renders it unlikely that this case represents a maternal death resulting from dystocia. Rather, the finding should be interpreted as a case of partial postmortem fetal extrusion, a process probably interrupted by decelerated decomposition of the maternal remains before full expulsion of the fetus.

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Series: International journal of osteoarchaeology
ISSN: 1047-482X
ISSN-E: 1099-1212
ISSN-L: 1047-482X
Volume: 31
Issue: 6
Pages: 1280 - 1284
DOI: 10.1002/oa.3023
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
319 Forensic science and other medical sciences
Funding: This study is funded by Academy of Finland grant numbers 323428, 309607, and 322783.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 323428
Detailed Information: 323428 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
309607 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
322783 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.