Believed to be the smallest baby ever to survive, one baby boy is finally being sent home from the hospital to be at home with his family.
The baby was born 16 weeks early in Japan last August, weighing in at just 0.5 pounds.
At birth, the baby was said to weigh only a little more than a pack of butter at birth.
He then spent an entire five months in the neonatal care unit at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo and was sent home two months after his due date.
At 24 weeks, doctors performed an emergency caesarean section when he failed to grow during the pregnancy and experts were afraid his life was in grave danger.
The baby whose name has yet to be released by hospital authorities, currently weighs over just 7 pounds.
And if you do the math — that is 12 times his original birth weight.
But while this is good news for the little one, the baby is still tinier than the average newborn baby in the U.S. who weighs on average 7.5 pounds.
The little boy was so small at birth that he was able to fit into a pair of cupped hands.
Additionally, his skin was so thin and fragile that his rib cage was entirely visible.
He later was treated at a neonatal intensive care unit where the doctors managed both his breathing as well as nutrition.
Later, he eventually began to breastfeed.
“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the boy’s mother shared, according to Keio University Hospital in Tokyo.
Dr. Takeshi Arimitsu shared with BBC how he wanted to show that “there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health, even though they are born small”.
The previous record of the world’s tiniest babies (each weighing less than .8 pounds) was held by the University of Iowa by a Germany baby boy born in 2009.
He was dubbed Tom Thumb by his doctors.
After being born 15 weeks premature, he weighed 0.6 pounds. He then spent a total of 9 months in a hospital prior to being admitted home.
The smallest baby ever was a girl born in Germany back in 2015 who weighed in at just 0.5 pounds.
Girls are also more likely to survive prematurity than boys although doctors are mystified as to why this happens.
It is speculated that having more mature lungs may play a part.
Consultant neonatologist in Glasgow, Helen Mactier, said that while the little boy may have made it against the odds — only 50 to 60 percent of babies born at 24 weeks survive.
“Survival is dictated by a number of factors but probably the most important is gestational age. But survival is also dictated by the health of the mother and the complications of pregnancy,” she said.
It should be noted that babies who do weigh less than 3.3 pounds at birth can battle an overwhelming amount of health problems.
This includes higher risk of infection, difficulty breathing due to their lungs being so undeveloped, neurological problems such as bleeding on the brain and gastrointestinal problems.
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