Singapore

Baby who weighed 345g at birth is now a 'hefty' 4.27kg

Baby girl born prematurely at just before 24 weeks because of pre-eclampsia, had only 20 per cent chance of survival

A baby who weighed just 345g, nearly the same as a can of soft drink, when she was born seven months ago and is among the lightest infants to have survived premature birth in Singapore, is now a "hefty" 4.27kg.

Born after just 23 weeks and six days, Nur Zaiya Naziha Muhammad Saufi could fit in the palm of a hand and her limbs were the size of an adult finger. A typical pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, with a full-term pregnancy considered to be at least 37 weeks.

In 2015, a baby weighing 315g was born and survived after more than six months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Singapore General Hospital.

Nur Zaiya is the smallest baby to be discharged from the National University Hospital (NUH). She was born on March 27 at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, as Singapore was about to go into a two-month circuit breaker.

Her parents, Madam Rohani Mustani, 37, a logistics officer, and Mr Muhammad Saufi Yusoff, 36, a system technician, took two to three hours to decide whether the baby should be delivered.

Madam Rohani had initially gone to hospital to seek help for abdominal pain and expected to return home to rest.

"I thought it was just normal gastric pain... But A&E told me I had symptoms of pre-eclampsia, which was quite shocking, and I had to deliver the baby the next day," she said. Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure.

Madam Rohani was told her baby had a 20 per cent chance of survival, but the couple decided to take a leap of faith. The infant was wheeled to the NICU right after delivery by emergency caesarean section. Nur Zaiya is the couple's fourth child. They have two other daughters, aged seven and four, and a son, aged six.

Dr Krishnamoorthy Niduvaje, a senior consultant at the department of neonatology at NUH, said it is rare for babies to be born before 24 weeks of gestation.

One in five babies is born prematurely because of pre-eclampsia, he added. The more premature the babies are, the more health complications they are likely to have. Nur Zaiya has been given medication for the small hole in her heart and has undergone laser treatment for retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease.

When she was discharged after 131 days in NICU, she weighed about 2kg, was breathing normally and on full bottle feeding.

MEDICAL & HEALTH