We all know what twins and triplets are. Most of us are familiar with the terms quadruplets and quintuplets. But what is the word to describe nine babies being born at the same time? The answer is... nonuplets. A 25-year-old Malian woman, Halima Cisse, has given birth to nine healthy babies. This is a new record. The previous record was by a woman in the US who delivered eight babies (octuplets) at a single birth. People in Mali were avidly following the progress of Ms Cisse's pregnancy and she was inundated with well wishes. Malians were not the only ones who were pleasantly surprised when doctors announced the nonuplets. Ms Cisse was told she was only carrying seven babies (septuplets) after having scans.
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Ms Cisse's husband told the BBC that she is in good health and that the babies (five boys and four girls) were doing well. Fanta Siby, Mali's health minister, congratulated the couple on the "happy outcome". He also praised medical teams in Morocco, which is where Ms Cisse gave birth. He also thanked Mali's president for the "political leadership and generosity" which "expedited" support for Halima. The outcome is wonderful news as it was a little touch-and-go in the early stages of the pregnancy. Gynecologists in Mali were concerned about Ms Cisse's welfare and the chances of her babies' survival. They sought the help of the hospital in Morocco where they believed she would receive better pre- and postnatal care.