With only 25 babies born under 10.58 ounces (approx. 300 grams) to have survived a preterm birth since 1936, doctors and families were uncertain whether a tiny baby boy—born prematurely at just over 9 ounces (approx. 255 grams)—would survive. However, this tiny infant has beaten the odds!
In a life-saving attempt, doctors at the Keio University Hospital in Tokyo delivered the unidentified baby boy via cesarean section in August 2018 after the tot ceased to gain weight in his mother’s womb at 24 weeks of pregnancy.
— WLUK-TV FOX 11 (@fox11news) February 28, 2019
When the baby boy finally came into the world, he weighed just 9.45 ounces (approx. 268 grams)—around the same weight as a large onion. He was so minute and petite that he could fit nicely into an adult’s cupped hands.
Right after the fragile tot was born, he was hooked to a ventilator for respiratory support and an umbilical catheter for infusion therapy, Dr. Takeshi Arimitsu, who treated the infant, told CNN.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 27, 2019
For five months, doctors treated and nursed the baby tot in a neonatal intensive care unit, where his breathing and nutrition were managed.
Once the baby’s weight reached 7.1 pounds (approx. 3.2 kg), he was deemed healthy to be discharged from hospital; he was discharged on Feb. 20—two months after his original due date.
“I am grateful that he has grown this big because, honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the baby boy’s mother told Reuters.
The smallest baby boy ever born weighed less than a pound at birth pic.twitter.com/VMXtIyytPL
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 28, 2019
According to the registry, the baby boy’s weight breaks the previous record set in 2009 by a German boy who weighed just 9.6 ounces (approx. 272 grams). The littlest surviving baby girl—weighing just 8.9 ounces (approx. 252 grams)—was also from Germany.
“There are only four babies this small [that survived] that we know of in the history of mankind,” Dr. Edward Bell, a professor of neonatal pediatrics at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, and the founder of the Tiniest Babies Registry, told Live Science. “It’s exceedingly rare. And for boys, as far as I can tell, it’s unique.”
Oh WOW 😮❤ A baby boy weighing just 268 grams (0.59 pounds) at birth was sent home after months in a Tokyo hospital, the smallest surviving male baby in the world, Keio University hospital said. He now weighs closer to 7 pounds.
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) March 1, 2019
“In these cases of extremely early [birth] or extremely small children, girls are a little more developed than boys,” Dr. Bell added. “More boys are born, but more girls survive.”
Keio Hospital told CBS news that they aren’t sure why extremely preterm boys are less likely to survive than girls, but suggested it could be due to the slower development of lungs in male babies.
Dr. Arimitsu said preterm birth cases are not prevalent in Japan, and the rate of infants’ low birth weight “is almost 10 percent.” Through the baby tot’s record-breaking survival, Dr. Arimitsu wanted people to know “there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health even though they are born small.”
The baby boy is surely a mini miracle! We wish this brave little fighter much happiness in his upcoming life endeavors!