Look: Baby born at 28 weeks in Abu Dhabi weighs only 380gm

The extremely premature baby with life-threatening conditions spent 124 days in intensive care


Ashwani Kumar

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Baby Mohamed. Photo: Supplied
Baby Mohamed. Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 14 Dec 2021, 1:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Dec 2021, 1:38 PM

On March 19, 2021, Baby Mohamed was born by emergency c-section, measuring 27cm long at 28 weeks gestation and weighing just 380gms.

When 31-year-old Rawan Ibrahim Mahgoub Elbashir was seven months pregnant, doctors told her about the need for an emergency caesarean section because of abnormal doppler and foetal distress – a sign that the baby is not well and is not receiving enough oxygen through the placenta.

Abdelsalam Anwar Abdelsalam Elamin, her husband, working as PRO, feared the worst as Rawan had premature delivery earlier. Lugaine, their daughter, was born prematurely at 32 weeks. The Sudanese couple was terrified that she might lose her unborn child this time.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

“It all started when my pregnancy was less than 20 weeks. After being seen by the hospital’s foetal medicine expert, I was informed to have abnormal uterine doppler, which can lead to the same previous condition of pregnancy-induced hypertension and premature delivery,” Rawan, a pharmacist by training, recalled.

Dr Eman Sadek, specialist obstetrics and gynaecology, at NMC Royal Women’s Hospital, said the baby had several life-threatening complications.

A multi-disciplinary team of doctors at a private hospital in Abu Dhabi have saved the life of the extremely premature baby with life-threatening conditions, who spent 124 days in intensive care.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

“Little Mohamed was born with extreme prematurity with extreme low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), anaemia, electrolyte imbalance, Grade 1 intraventricular haemorrhage – all being life-threatening conditions. The majority of infants born this early do not survive.

“Rawan was first seen in our hospital during her pregnancy in the first week of January 2021 at close to 18 weeks and at that time she was already on medicines because of the previous history of pregnancy-induced hypertension and caesarean section at 32 weeks.

"She was constantly monitored and foetal distress was detected when her pregnancy was just 28 weeks with insufficient blood flow to the uterus and placenta putting the baby at serious risk leaving us with no other option but to take her for emergency caesarean section.”

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Dr Aditya Rakhecha, head of department and consultant neonatology and his team saved the baby who had to undergo many screenings with a multi-disciplinary team including cardiology, paediatric surgery, ophthalmology, etc.

“Care for preterm babies requires input from multiple disciplines. In the case of baby Mohamed, the cardiologist assessed and managed him for patent ductus – a condition when the baby is having an extra blood vessel before birth and just after birth.  This is quite common in extremely premature babies and can affect multiple organs. He was screened for the immaturity of the retina by an ophthalmologist which can cause permanent blindness if not diagnosed and treated timely. He had hernia surgery by the paediatric surgeon.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

“At birth, he only had a feeble heart rate without any spontaneous movement or breathing and needed immediate resuscitation. With the resuscitation, the baby’s condition improved. After being artificially ventilated, he became active, with a good heart rate and skin colour.”

The World Health Organisation defines low birth weight as babies with birth weight less than 2.5kg, very low birth weights with birth weight less than 1,500gm, and extremely low birth weight as birth weight less than 1,000gm.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

“Mohamed had an incredible journey in the NICU (neonatal ICU). He stayed for 124 days in NICU and could well be the smallest baby discharged from a private hospital, weighing only 380gm at birth. Babies less than 500gm rarely survive but he fought off various complications and progressed well in NICU,” said Dr Aditya.

The hospital’s spokesperson said that they see about 200 low birth babies every year and over the past 6 years they have successfully looked after more than 150 babies with very low birth weight and successfully discharged more than 50 babies with extremely low birth weight.

Michael Davis, CEO, NMC Healthcare, said is delighted for baby Mohamed and his family.

“This young fighter braved all odds as his army of doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff stayed focused on their mission of saving his precious life. I am grateful to the parents who were an integral part of this complex multi-disciplinary team delivering hope and care to the baby and most importantly, supporting one another.”

Abdelsalam said, “It was an indescribable, incredible feeling. It was amazing and satisfying to watch him grow while he was in the NICU. I waited eagerly to hold him in my arms and take him home.”

Rawan added: “It was a long journey, but due to Allah’s miracles and mercy, everything went well. I was prepared that Mohamed will stay in NICU for the whole year, but thanks to the excellent team that it all ended much sooner.”

The baby, delivered 12 weeks before the due date, was discharged on July 21, 2021, after having spent over four months in the hospital under the careful observation of the NICU team headed by Dr Aditya. At the time of discharge, the baby weighed 2.69kg.

Dr Eman pointed out that regular antenatal visits to the obstetrician can help diagnose such issues with the pregnancy early.

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