Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Abu Dhabi baby born at 23 weeks goes home in good health

After four months of treatment, baby Reema has been allowed to go home

An Emirati baby girl who was last year born prematurely at just 23 weeks is in good health, doctors at the hospital treating her have announced.

Born after less than six months of gestation on September 2, baby Reema was only 30 centimeres long with a birth weight was 550 grammes – an ideal baby weight is almost five times that at 2,500g.

Neonatologists looking after the baby at Danat Al Emarat Hospital said her case is "rare".

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, managing director and CEO at United Eastern Medical Services, the hospital's parent organisation, said the baby was admitted to the hospital for 136 days.

Dr Iviano Ossuetta, head of neonatology and a consultant at the hospital, said: “The case is very rare. Studies show that the global incidence of birth at 23 weeks of pregnancy is about 5 births per 10,000 and the survival rate may be as low as 29 per cent."

"Almost all the newborn's organs at this gestation age would not yet be fully developed, including the lungs, and it could not fully function, requiring hospitalisation ... until the newborn reaches the equivalent of 35 weeks of gestation and weighs more than 1,800g."

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm – or before 37 weeks of gestation – each year and the figure is rising.

Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5, responsible for around a million deaths in 2015.

Babies born at less that 28 weeks, like Reema, are classified as "extremely preterm", however tests undertaken while she was in hospital showed that her organs were well developed and functional.

"Her mother had signs of early labour during her fifth month of pregnancy.," said Abdullah Ali Al-Kaabi, Reema's father.

"After stabilising the baby, I was considering transfering them abroad for treatment, but the physicians assured me that the care provided here would be the same as elsewhere and that there were risks associated with the move.”

“Thanks to God, we have now left the hospital in good health after a stay of nearly four months. I truly appreciate the care and medical excellence that was provided to my baby and my family."

Reema is the youngest of the 10 babies born at 23-26 weeks of pregnancy since the hospital opened in 2015.

Updated: March 10, 2019 05:41 PM