Peruvian five-year-old Lina Medina, accompanied by her 11-month-old-son Gerardo, and Doctor Lozada who attended her son’s birth, are shown in this 1940 file photo taken in Lima’s hospital.
When her child was born by Caesarean section in May 1939, Medina made medical history, and is still the youngest known mother in the world.
Lina Medina’s parents thought their 5-year-old daughter had a huge abdominal tumor and when shamans in their remote village in Peru’s Andes could find no cure, her father carried her to a hospital.
Just over a month later, she gave birth to a boy.
Medina was born on September 27, 1933 in the small village of Paurange. She was only 5 years 8 months old at the birth of her child on Mother’s Day, May 14, 1939.
Born at full term at Lima’s maternity clinic, her child was taken through a caesarian operation (Dr. Lozada and Busalleu, operators, Dr. Colretta, anesthesiologist). The child (boy), weighing 2,700 grams, was well formed and in good health. Child and mother were able to leave the clinic after only a few days.
Doctor Lozada has conducted very detailed studies since the diagnostic of the pregnancy which aroused much curiosity in the country; he took an x-ray of the child and her baby, established a diagnostic of the fetal situation, observed the state of functionality of the little mother who had begun menstruating at the age of 8 months. At four years old she had already developed breasts as well as pubic hair, her body proportions were a bit amazing and her bone hardening a bit advanced, things that are often observed in cases of such premature pregnancy.
After taunting from schoolmates, Medina’s son, Gerardo – who was named after one of the doctors who attended Medina and who became their mentor – discovered when he was 10 that the person he had grown up believing to be his sister was in fact his mother.
Gerardo died in 1979 at age 40 from a disease that attacks the body’s bone marrow, but it was said it was not clear there was any link with his illness and the fact his mother had been so young at his birth.
Medina herself married and in 1972 had a second son, 33 years after her first. Her second child now lives in Mexico.