5-Year-Old Gives Birth

On this day in 1939, a five-year old Peruvian girl named Lina Medina gave birth to a son, making her the youngest mother on record.

Born in Ticrapo, Peru, to silversmith Tiburelo Medina and his wife Victoria Losea, Lina Medina was, by most accounts, a normal Mestiza child. But concerned about a tumor she appeared to be developing, her father carried Medina from their home in a small Andean village to a hospital in the city of Pisco. He told Dr. Gerardo Lozada that local shamans had been unable to cure the tumor developing in her abdomen. Lozada examined Media, listened to her abdomen with a stethoscope, and performed an X-ray. The swelling in her stomach was not a tumor, he discovered, but a growing fetus. Five-year-old Lina Medina was seven months pregnant.

Specialists in a Lima hospital confirmed her pregnancy. Medina’s father was arrested on suspicion of incest, then released due to a lack of evidence. Doctors discovered that Medina had precocious puberty, a condition by which she underwent puberty at an unnaturally young age. It turned out Medina began having periods at only eight months of age, and had developed breasts, pelvic widening, advanced bone maturation, and fully mature sexual organs. She was kept under doctors’ care and delivered a healthy baby boy by cesarean section on 14 May 1939. The boy, a healthy 2.7 kilograms, was named Gerardo, after the doctor who originally diagnosed Medina’s pregnancy, Dr. Gerardo Lozada. The boy was raised believing he was Medina’s younger brother, though the truth was later revealed.

Medina never revealed the boy’s father or the circumstances surrounding her impregnation, perhaps because she herself did not know. She later married Raul Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. Gerardo died at age 40 from a bone marrow infection. As far as the media can confirm, Medina still lives with her husband in Peru, and her surviving son lives in Mexico.