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Jerusalem woman gives birth to her 20th child

Ultra-Orthodox grandmother, 42, has spent some 14 years of her life pregnant

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Newborn babies in a Jerusalem hospital. (Flash90)
Illustrative: Newborn babies in a Jerusalem hospital. (Flash90)

An expectant woman who arrived at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem to give birth earlier this week astounded staff when she revealed that the baby would be her 20th child.

The ultra-Orthodox woman, 42, was from the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.

Midwife Aliza Altmark was chatting with the woman in preparation for the birth when the mother revealed that she already had 19 children — including one set of twins — from 18 previous births. In total, the serial birther has spent some 14 years of her life pregnant, the hospital said in a statement. Over the years some of her older children have married and had children themselves.

Altmark said the mother was calm and relaxed and the labor took a few hours, longer than the woman’s previous births.

“She was very excited about every birth, every child, even the 19th and the 20th,” Altmark said. “It also gave me a good feeling. She has sons- and daughters-in-law, and of course she has a lot of help at home.”

The hospital said the baby boy was born naturally and without complications.

While it is not clear what the Israeli birth record is, the most prolific mother according to the Guinness World Record website was Mrs. Vassilyeva, an 18th-century Russian peasant woman who produced 69 children. During 27 labors the Vassilyeva gave birth to a remarkable 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

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