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'World's tiniest baby', weighing 250g, born in Abu Dhabi

Saman Haziq/Abu Dhabi
Filed on April 14, 2021

She was born after 23 weeks of pregnancy.


At 23 weeks and one day, baby Latifa was born weighing no more than a large apple. Her doctors in Abu Dhabi said she was so small she could ‘fit in the palm of one’s hands’.

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Having lost their first child to premature birth, her parents — Emiratis Ahmed Huseein Salem and Fatema Omar — feared the worst when they were told Latifa had “only a few hours to live”. But the miracle baby survived.

Doctors at NMC Royal Hospital in Abu Dhabi said that, at 250g, Latifa could be one of the world’s tiniest babies who survived premature birth. After battling a flurry of life-threatening conditions during a 177-day stay at the hospital, she was discharged weighing a healthy 3.825kg.

When she was born in June last year, she needed an army of doctors: a paediatric cardiologist, paediatric ophthalmologist, paediatric neurologist, paediatric haematologist, ENT, and a physiotherapist.

Dr Ritu Nambiar, gynaecology specialist, who delivered the baby via a spontaneous pre-term normal delivery, said: “After the birth, the hospital’s advanced life support team, led by consultant and head neonatologist Dr Wilson Lopez, worked to stabilise Latifa before she was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit.”

When Dr Lopez saw the baby, who was just then 29cm long, he knew a tough battle lay ahead.

“Latifa was faced with a number of complications, far beyond what most babies do when they’re born that early… The world’s tiniest baby (born in the US in 2018) survived as she did not have any major life-threatening complications…Latifa had respiratory distress, sepsis, anaemia, hypotension, abnormal coagulation, hypernatremia, hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia, renal failure, patent ductus arteriosus, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, gastroesophageal reflux, hearing issues and chronic lung disease, among many others,” Dr Lopez said.

As per the Tiniest Babies Registry, maintained by the University of Iowa, US, another baby weighing 245g was recorded to be the world’s smallest surviving premature baby. She was born at a hospital in San Diego in 2018 in the US. According to CDC data, more than half of all babies born at 23 weeks do not survive.

A team of experts cared for baby Latifa for a good five months, eventually helping her grow stronger. “She’s a miracle, that’s for sure,” said Dr Nambiar.

Michael Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare, said: “Latifa most likely survived and thrived as she did because she is a fighter and has a great family who stayed by her side, along with good genes and some good luck. Also, she happened to be born at the right place. A successful birth of 250g is extremely rare. Latifa had to deal with the usual catastrophic issues that can set a baby back or lead to death. But she was really a rarity, a very special baby and I am extremely pleased at the outcome and very grateful for our amazing staff at NMC Royal Hospital in Abu Dhabi.”

saman@khaleejtimes.com





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