Mom diagnosed with cancer within minutes of giving birth

Mar 19, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. ET

The birth of twins should be a time of joy. But for one young mother, her labor and delivery ended with a life-threatening diagnosis.

Jenna Hinman, 26, was rushed to a nearby hospital when, at 31 weeks pregnant, she developed severe shortness of breath. Doctors immediately made the decision to deliver the twin babies via emergency C-section, and they were stabilized in the NICU.

Hinman was able to only muster a brief glance at her newborn daughters before she began coughing up blood. Doctors soon discovered that the young woman's body was riddled with tumors. The cancer cells had spread from her uterus and took up residence all over her body, especially in her lungs, which were so filled with tumors that she became unable to breathe on her own.

Choriocarcinoma, a cancer caused by pregnancy

Hinman's condition is called choriocarcinoma and it's a type of cancer that is caused, strangely enough, by pregnancy. Choriocarcinoma is a cancer in a woman's uterus that arises from the cells that were meant to be the placenta. The cancer cells are very aggressive and grow quickly. Most women diagnosed with this cancer cannot carry a full-term pregnancy. Miraculously, Hinman had an almost full-term pregnancy... with twins.

Outpouring of love and support in a time of crisis

Hinman's family has created a Facebook page to keep her family and friends updated. According to the most recent post authorized by her husband, U.S. Army Sergeant Brandon Hinman, she remains in a medically-induced coma while doctors treat the cancer. Newborn daughters Azlynn and Kinleigh remain in the NICU.

More on pregnancy

The warning signs of thyroid disease during pregnancy
Gall bladder problems during and following pregnancy
Pregnancy after endometriosis