Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Conjoined twins to be delivered

A Shropshire woman is due to give birth to conjoined twins.

Eighteen-year-old Laura Williams, from Shrewsbury, is being cared for at Birmingham Women's Hospital.

Her unborn girls, already named Faith and Hope, are believed to be joined at the chest from their breastbone to their navel. They have separate hearts.

Mrs Williams and her husband Aled, from Anglesey, expect the babies to be delivered by Caesarean section at a London hospital next week.

Conjoined twins are rare and figures for them range from one in about every 200,000 births to one in about 400,000 live births.

Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova, from Russia, were the oldest known surviving conjoined twins. They died in April 2003 aged 53.

A team of surgeons in Birmingham carried out a successful operation in 2001 to separate Eman and Sanchia Mowatt, who were joined at the spine.

The pair were sent home in time for Christmas to recover with their family in Birmingham.

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