The strange case of Lina Medina – youngest mother in history!

Menstruation in 6 months, pregnant in 5 years! Lina Medina baffled medical science by becoming the world's youngest mother.

The Peruvian girl Lina Marcela Medina de Jurado, shortened in Lina Medina, was born on 23rd September of 1933, who became the youngest confirmed mother in history, giving birth at age five years, seven months, and twenty-one days. Based on the medical assessments of her pregnancy, she was less than five years old when she became pregnant.

Lina Medina holding her child, Lima, Peru. (c.1933)
Lina Medina holding her child, Lima, Peru. (c.1933) Wikimedia Commons

The story of Lina Medina – the youngest mother in history

Lina Medina
Lina Medina and her son. Wikimedia Commons

Lina Medina was born in Ticrapo, Castrovirreyna Province, Peru, to parents Tiburelo Medina, a silversmith, and Victoria Losea. She was one of nine children. Wikimedia Commons

In the spring of 1939, the Medina family hurriedly took their 5-year-old daughter to a hospital in Pisco, Peru. The family described to the doctor that their daughter’s belly had been growing for the last several months. Her mother, as well as the doctor originally thought that Medina had a tumour inside her abdomen.

But once the doctor diagnosed young Lina Medina, the family were shocked by what they heard. Medina was currently seven months pregnant! Dr. Gerardo Lozada took her to Lima to have other specialists confirm that she was pregnant.

A month and a half after the original diagnosis, Medina gave birth to a boy by cesarean section. She was 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days old. And Lina Medina became the youngest girl on record to have given birth. She is also believed to be the youngest documented case of precocious puberty.

What is precocious puberty?

Lina Medina’s condition is interesting since only one in 10,000 children develops a condition called “precocious puberty”. What this means is that girls are ten times more likely than boys to reach sexual maturity before the age of 8. Under examination, the doctors noticed that 5 years old Medina had developed breasts, had advanced bone growth and wider hips.

Identifying the father: A crime that remains buried in time

Lina Medina
Lina Medina and her son (Standing). Wikimedia Commons

Medina has never revealed the father of the child nor the circumstances of her impregnation. So it was difficult to find out who the father was. However, for a brief period, Medina’s own father Tiburelo Medina was questioned and then arrested. The authorities suspected him of child rape. But he was released due to lack of evidence, and the biological father was never identified.

Some have reported that remote villages in Peru would regularly hold pre-Christian religious festivals where group sex and sometimes rape would happen. During these festivals, some children would also be present during the festivals, which could be the case of Lina Medina.

Lina Medina’s later life

Lina Medina
Lina Medina in her 80s. Wikimedia Commons

Despite Lina Medina breaking the record for being the youngest mother ever, Medina continued to live a peaceful life. Once her story hit the News, many Newspaper companies attempted, but unsuccessfully offered to buy the rights for an interview and to film their daughter.

During her young adulthood, Medina worked for the same doctor who was present during her son’s birth. She paid her way through school while working as a secretary, and managed to pay for her son to go to school.

In the early 1970s, Lina Medina is reported to have married a man named Raúl Jurado. Both Lina and Raúl were not wealthy people and are known to continue to live in a poor village known as “Little Chicago” in Lima, Peru. Throughout her entire life, Medina would avoid publicity and would decline any interviews. Currently Lina Medina is 87 years old.

The death of lina Medina’s son

The strange case of Lina Medina – youngest mother in history! 1
Lina Medina, accompanied by her 11-month-old-son Gerardo, and Dr Lozada (left), Lina and her grown up son (right – third picture). TravellingMan / Flickr

Medina’s child was named Gerardo, and after Medina was examined, the baby was released and taken back to his family’s home in Ticrapo, Peru. As Gerardo grew up he believed that Medina was just his older sister and it wasn’t until later in his life that he realized the truth.

In a 1955 profile interview for Gerardo and his mother, he claimed that his desire was to become a doctor. In 1979, despite being considered healthy, Gerardo passed away from bone marrow disease at the age of 40.

Lina Medina’s case remains unexplained in medical history

A number of doctors over the years have verified Lina Medina’s case based on biopsies, X-rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her. Even, there are two published photographs documenting the case that have been proven to be real.

In 1955, except for the effects of precocious puberty, there was no explanation of how a girl less than five years old could conceive a child. Extreme precocious pregnancy in children aged five or under has only been documented with Lina Medina.