Child was born prematurely at 24 weeks
Baby weighing less than half a bag of sugar receives ‘kangaroo care’
A premature baby boy weighing only 445 grams has been nursed to full health by the doctors and staff at Latifa Hospital in Dubai.
The boy, born 24 weeks into his mother’s pregnancy, needed five months of intensive care, medical attention and nutrition to survive. He was discharged last week weighing 1.9 kilograms.
Sadly his twin, who was born weighing 385g, did not survive.
The babies were born premature after their Palestinian mother, who was suffering preeclampsia, needed a life-saving emergency operation, said Dr Khaled El-Atawi, a neonatologist at Latifa Hospital.
Dr El-Atawi said preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication, is characterised by high blood pressure and is a symptom of damage to another organ, most often the liver and kidneys.
Women who have the condition, which usually starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy, typically have normal blood pressure before.
The condition meant the twins had to be delivered, Dr El-Atawi said. The medical team stabilised the baby boy in his first hour of birth through resuscitation followed by an intravenous feeding tube.
They then watched for signs of hypothermia, where the body temperature loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerous drop in core temperature.
The baby was also given respiratory and cardiovascular support and had to be protected from potential infections.
Dr Mahmoud El Halik, head of paediatrics and neonatology at the hospital, said one of the crucial factors in the boy’s recovery was to ensure skin-to-skin contact with the mother, and that he received enough breast milk.
“Hospitals encourage family involvement to promote a baby’s healthy development from day one,” Dr El Halik said.
“Neonates are placed in an incubator and once the baby’s condition is stable, healthcare professionals teach the mother and father ‘kangaroo care’, which is skin-to-skin contact between the baby and their parents.
“The parents’ reassuring and loving touch is known to have many health benefits, and one of the key benefits is that it helps in the lactation process.”