Malian woman gives birth to nine babies after initially expecting seven

A nurse attending to one of the nonuplets in Morocco. Credit: AP

A woman from Mali has given birth to nine babies - two more than ultrasounds initially indicated.

Halima Cisse gave birth to the nonuplets - five girls and four boys - at a hospital in Morocco after she was flown there in March for specialist care.

The 25-year-old gave birth via Caesarian section and the newborns and mother are said to be "doing well", according to Malian health minister Dr Fanta Siby.

Doctors in the West African nation had been concerned for her welfare and the chances of the babies' survival - so the government intervened.

The premature infant ward where are the nine babies at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco. Credit: AP

After spending two weeks in a hospital in Mali's capital, Bamako, the decision was made to move Ms Cisse to Morocco on March 30, Dr Siby said.

The private Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca confirmed she had given birth there.

Nonuplets are extremely rare and often occur with complications in multiple births of this kind, which can result in some of the babies not reaching full term.

Two sets of nonuplets have been recorded in the past - one born to a woman in Australia in 1971 and another to a woman in Malaysia in 1999 - but none of the babies survived.

One of the nine babies rests in an incubator at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco. Credit: AP

The UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said the birth was an "incredibly rare event but not impossible".

"A ‘multiple pregnancy’ is the term used when you are expecting two or more babies at the same time - it occurs in about one in 80 pregnancies," said Asma Khalil, professor of obstetrics and maternal foetal medicine at St George’s Hospital in London and RCOG spokesperson.

"It’s very positive to see reports that mother and babies are doing well and received the care they needed," she added.