'Tiniest baby boy ever' has been released from hospital healthy
A little boy from Japan said to be the "tiniest baby boy ever" has officially been released from hospital with a clean bill of health, ready to start his life.
The tiny infant weighed just nine and a half ounces (268g) when he was delivered via C-Section at just 24 weeks back in August. He had failed gain weight after 24 weeks of gestation, and doctors at the time believed that the little boy's life was in danger if he was not immediately delivered.
At the time of his birth, the little baby could fit in a pair of cupped hands, and was immediately placed in neonatal intensive care. They carefully managed his breathing and his nutrition, and he began to gain weight, eventually being able to breastfeed.
That was until last week, on Wednesday February 20, when after five months being closely monitored by healthcare professionals, the boy was released, now weighing a healthier 3.2 kg (around 7 lbs). Had he been born on his expected due date, the infant would be nearing two months old.
"I can only say I'm happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn't sure he could survive," said the boy's delighted mother on her son's release from hospital, as reported Tokyo's Keio University Hospital, where the infant was taken care of until he was healthy enough to live out in the world.
Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu, of the Department of Paediatrics at Keio University Hospital, was part of the team that treated this extraordinary baby, and he said that while this was officially the smallest baby boy on record to be discharged from a hospital, he wanted to demonstrate that "there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health, even though they are born small".
These records come from the University of Iowa’s registry for the world’s tiniest babies, where this baby beat the previous record holder (born to a couple in Germany in 2009) by around six grams. The smallest girl, however, weighed only 252 grams at her birth, and coincidentally, this was also in Germany, in 2015.
The survival rate for girls is a lot higher than it is for boys, with medical experts suspecting it has something to do with male babies having a slower development of their lungs.
In general, babies born below a kilogram (around 2.2 lbs) have a lower chance of surviving, because they have difficulty breathing, and are more susceptible to heart failure and infectious diseases due to their undeveloped organs.
With the miracles of modern medicine, more of these smaller babies are surviving, with Japan boasting a 90-percent success rate with children of this type. But when their weight drops below 300 grams, the rate of survival plummets, and that goes especially for young boys.
While 19 baby girls below 300 grams at birth have been discharged from hospital, this latest surviving boy was only the fourth boy to survive despite being born below 300 grams.