Vietnam saves lightest premature baby in ‘rare miracle’

By Thuy Quynh   November 25, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
Vietnam saves lightest premature baby in ‘rare miracle’
A baby girl in Vinh Phuc Province's Obstetrics and Pediatric Hospital is Vietnam's lightest premature baby to survive. Photo courtesy of the Vinh Phuc Obstetrics and Pediatric Hospital.
A baby girl in the northern Vinh Phuc Province is the lightest prematurely born baby to survive in Vietnam, weighing just 480 grams at birth.

Doctors at the Vinh Phuc Obstetrics and Pediatric Hospital on Wednesday described the girl’s survival after only 26 weeks in gestation as a "rare miracle."

The mother, who had been barren for a decade, resorted to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and became pregnant with twins. She showed signs of amniotic fluid leakage 18 weeks in and was admitted to the hospital on July 1, where she was found to be at risk of a miscarriage.

She prematurely birthed a baby at week 24, but that baby did not survive. Doctors decided then to keep the other baby in the womb.

Her greatest risk at the time was a uterus infection, which could have forced doctors to remove her uterus altogether. The procedure might have meant that the mother could never become pregnant again, said Doctor To Van An, head of the hospital’s obstetrics disease department.

"The most important task was to keep the remaining fetus alive in the womb for as long as possible," An said.

The mother was treated with antibiotics and other drugs to delay labor, before she showed signs of running out of amniotic fluid on August 20. Doctors were forced to deliver the baby prematurely within the day, at 26 weeks in gestation.

After her delivery, the baby girl was transported to a special ward for infants in a very weak condition. She had weak responses, shallow breath and discoloration of the whole body. She was put in an incubator, supported with ventilators, fed through her veins and treated with antibiotics and several drugs.

As she was born prematurely, the baby faced heightened risks of brain haemorrhage, respiratory failure, pneumonia and infection, among other conditions. But day after day, she staged a miraculous recovery and was finally put off ventilators and fed normally with milk.

When she was discharged on Wednesday, the baby was 39 weeks old and weighed 2.1 kg.

The lightest prematurely born baby who has survived in Vietnam before the one in Vinh Phuc is Bui Thi Gai, born in 2010 at week 25 in gestation. She weighed just over 500 grams at birth.

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