Coffin
The deceased woman gave birth to a stillborn child on the eve of her funeral - Representational image REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

A pregnant South African woman 'gave birth' to a stillborn baby 10 days after she passed away according to local media.

Mother-of-five Nomveliso Nomasonto Mdoyi, from Mbizana in eastern South Africa, was nine months pregnant when she fell ill and died at the age of 33.

Shocked funeral parlour staff made the macabre discovery in the woman's coffin a day before she was scheduled to be buried.

Staff at the Lindokuhle Funeral home said they were so frightened by their find they did not have time to check the baby's sex.

"I have been in the business for more than 20 years and I have never heard of a dead woman giving birth", funeral parlour owner Fundile Makalana told Dispatch Daily.

Dr Peter Hutchinson, from neigbouring East London, attended the scene and confirmed the death was due to natural causes. Experts say that a deterioration of muscles over time and the build-up of gasses could have caused the fetus to be expelled from the mother's body.

The woman's mother, Mandzala Mdoyi, spoke of her anguish over her daughter's death and the subsequent discovery.

"First, I was devastated by the untimely death of my daughter and now I got the shock of my life to learn that she had given birth while she had been dead for 10 days. What is that? God please come and intervene?" she pleaded.

The mother and her stillborn baby were both buried together in the same coffin on Saturday (Janaury 13).