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There are incredible stories of miracle babies born at 23, 24 or 25 weeks of age and despite all the difficulties that lay ahead, those premature babies survived.
However, the most extraordinary case of all is that of a baby from Texas, she has marked a new milestone, and is that she is considered as the most premature baby ever born to survive. The little girl was born at 21 weeks of pregnancy and, against all odds, she went ahead. Today she is 3 years old and a healthy and energetic girl.
Photo Courtney Stensrud
Courtney Stensrud, a mother from Texas (United States), who was 21 weeks pregnant, went into labor unexpectedly. It was a preterm delivery that began after the fetal membranes ruptured associated with an infection in the placenta and amniotic fluid.
Doctors did not expect the baby to survive outside the womb at this early stage of pregnancy. And, babies born before 22 weeks of pregnancy are too premature. Their organs are still in formation but, above all, their lungs are so underdeveloped that they are unable to breathe on their own outside the womb.
However, after the delivery and feeling her baby on her, Courtney had a sensation and insisted that she be resuscitated. Doctors were skeptical and doubted his survival, it was the most premature baby ever born to survive.
He was born with 0.4 kilos and many of his organs were unfinished. In the images that we show the girl was 3 weeks old and even so you can see how small she is. His mother put her wedding ring on his wrist to appreciate it well.
Even so, he managed to survive against all odds, since at 21 weeks of age, mechanical breathing tubes do not fit in such small airways. Blood vessels are too fragile and can easily break and cause brain bleeds. And, the rest of the organs are still in formation.
A baby born at this stage of pregnancy, at the end of the fifth month of pregnancy, may suffer hearing, vision, motor difficulties, learning problems, or cerebral palsy. So much so, that some obstetric societies recommend not resuscitating such premature babies because their quality of life is really compromised. They are children who in the future may suffer great neurological consequences.
Yet the case of this miracle baby from Texas is unique in medical annals. She went ahead. The girl is 3 years old and her mother explains that she does not have any medical problems or disabilities and that she is a girl full of energy and life.
There are several categories of premature babies depending on the week in which they were born:
- Between week 22 and 25, babies are considered at the "limit of viability".
- Before the 28th week of pregnancy they are called extreme premature babies.
- Those babies born between the 28th and 32nd week of pregnancy are very premature.
- If they are born between week 32 and 35 they are moderate premature.
- Mild preterm: between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy.
Before week 22, doctors consider the survival of the baby practically unviable. However, this little baby from Texas is proof that extraordinary things happen sometimes, miracles some would say. According to statistics, 80% of premature babies survive. Cases are even known of babies born between weeks 22 and 24 who have come out ahead.
The World Health Organization has issued several reports in recent years on the alarming increase in the rate of prematurity in the world. The reasons are diverse and depend largely on where they occur, but in developed countries it seems associated with the increase in multiple births due to assisted reproductive techniques. It is also related to high levels of stress and delayed childbearing.
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