A record-breaking baby weighing a minuscule 280 grams has grown up into a healthy young girl, US doctors report this week. But experts fret that the 'miracle' baby may raise false hopes among parents about the outlook for their premature infants.
Madeline was the smallest baby ever to survive when she was born in Chicago in 1989. Her mother suffered from the pregnancy disorder preeclampsia, which starved the child of essential nutrients.
So Madeline was born at 27 weeks, weighing the equivalent of three bars of soap. She was about a third of the weight of babies of a similar age and only a fraction of the three kilograms that newborns normally weigh after a full 40-week pregnancy, wrote Nature.
She spent the first month of her life on a ventilator and left the hospital when she was four months old. Even though her eyes were slightly damaged, she now has perfect eyesight thanks to treatment she received.
Taking about saving premature babies, Dr. Muraskas, who delivered her, said "We are not miracle workers. The survival rate has about peaked. A baby today born at 23 weeks, that's about the lowest limit of viability, that translates to about a one-pound baby.
The survival rate is about 5 percent to 10 percent. The chances of a developmental handicap like blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, is at least 90 percent," informs Medical News.
"I think the take-home points are that boys are wimps when premature. Girls do so much better than boys. And Madeline was 27 weeks. I think gestational age is critical", he added.
Madeline was delivered by Caesarian section, reports Reuters.