A baby thought to be the world’s smallest at birth has been sent home after spending 13 months in hospital. Kwek Yu Xuan weighed just 212 grams – about the weight of an apple – when she was born on June 9 last year at Singapore’s National University Hospital (NUH). She was delivered at just 25 weeks, reports BBC, making her four months premature. At the time of her birth, she measured just 24 cm long.
So small was Kwek Yu Xuan, in fact, that when she was wheeled into the neonatal intensive care unit, the nurse on duty could not believe her eyes. “I was shocked so I spoke to the professor (in the same department) and asked if he could believe it,” said Zhang Suhe, the NUH nurse, to The Strait Times. “In my 22 years of being a nurse, I haven’t seen such a small newborn baby.”
Kwek Yu Xuan received 13 months of intensive treatment at the hospital, spending weeks on a ventilator, and now weighs a much healthier 6.3 kg. She was discharged from the hospital last month, and is believed to be the world’s tiniest baby to survive a premature birth.
This weekend, doctors involved in her delivery spoke to reporters for the first time ever, saying that Kwek Yu Xuan weighed even less at the time of birth than they expected her to. “We expected her to weigh 400, 500 or 600 grams, but she came up to just 212 grams,” said Dr Ng, who is a senior consultant at the department of neonatology at NUH.
Treating the premature baby also offered another set of challenges: her skin was so fragile that doctors could not put probes on her, her body so small that doctors had to look for the smallest breathing tube and her caretakers had to cut diapers so they could fit her. “She was so small that even the calculation for the medication had to be down to the decimal points,” a doctor said.
“Against the odds, with health complications present at birth, she has inspired people around her with her perseverance and growth, which makes her an extraordinary “Covid-19″ baby – a ray of hope amid turmoil,” the hospital said in a statement.
Yu Xuan’s parents have been trained to use medical equipment so her care can continue at home after her hospital discharge.
According to the Tiniest Babies Registry by the University of Iowa, the previous record for the lightest baby at birth before this was held by a girl born in 2018 in the Unites States who weighed o245 grams.