A baby boy born in Tokyo is believed to be the world’s smallest recorded preemie. He has recently been discharged from the hospital in good health, having survived delivery at 24 weeks.
Weighing “the same as a large onion” at 268 grams, the baby was so small he fit into an adult’s cupped hands.
He was delivered by emergency C-section in Keio University Hospital after he reportedly stopped growing in the womb.
He spent 5 months in the hospital for treatment in intensive care. When released last week, two months after his initial due date, he had grown to a weight of 3.2 kg, and is “now feeding normally,” BBC News reports.
“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” said the child’s mother.
The doctor who treated the infant, Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu, told the BBC that according to a database compiled by the University of Iowa of the world’s smallest surviving babies, the boy was the littlest infant born on record to be released from a hospital.
The doctor said he wanted people to know that “there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health even though they are born small.”
The survival rates for the smallest premature boys is significantly lower than girls. Medical experts are not sure why, though Keio hospital says it may be linked to the slower development of the lungs in male babies.
Before this latest record, the smallest baby was a boy in Germany, weighing 274 grams. The smallest surviving baby girl was born in 2015 in Germany and weighed 252 grams.
Babies born weighing less than a kilogram have a survival rate of about 90% in Japan, said Keio University Hospital. But when babies are born under 300g, the rate falls to about 50%.
According to CBN News, UNICEF records that Japan has one of the world’s lowest rates of infant mortality.
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