Entries in Premature Infants (3)


Follow-Up Study Finds World's Smallest Surviving Newborns Doing Fine

Madeline Mann. Loyola University Medical Center(MAYWOOD, Ill.) -- Two women who hold records for being the smallest surviving newborns are now doing fine and have developed normally, despite being born months premature and weighing about as much as a smart phone after birth, according to doctors where both babies were born.

Madeline Mann is now 20 and a college student. When she was born in 1989, at nearly 27 weeks, she was the world's smallest surviving infant at 9.9 oz.  In 2004, Rumaisa Rahman, a twin, weighed just 9.2 oz when she was born at nearly 26 weeks and became the world's smallest surviving newborn.  She still holds that record today.

In a follow-up study published in the journal Pediatrics, doctors at Loyola University Medical Center described the girls' progress since their birth.  Both Madeline and Rumaisa developed normal motor and speech abilities and so far, have no chronic health problems.  They are also both much smaller than peers their age.

In addition to being born extremely early, both babies were very low birth weight for their gestational ages.  Normally, an 18-week-old fetus is around the weight they were when they were born.  Although they are doing well, lead author Dr. Jonathan Muraskas, professor of neonatal-perinatal medicine at Loyola University Medical Center, stressed that despite their successes, Madeline and Rumaisa are very atypical of babies born that early and at weights that low.

"The normal outcomes that are somewhat of a miracle," said Muraskas. "We don't want the public to look at these two and have false expectations about outcomes."

"The vast majority of extremely pre-term infants who are also growth-restricted as these two were don't survive and those that do have major handicaps as well as ongoing health issues," said Dr. Deborah Campbell, director of neonatology at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, N.Y.

Dominic Francis, a 2-year-old from Cincinnati, is living with some of these health issues.  Though he wasn't born as early as Madeline or Rumaisa, he was only 29 weeks old and weighed a little more than two pounds at birth.

He developed cerebral palsy after he was born, and now has trouble walking and communicating.

While she's happy to hear about rare cases like Madeline and Rumaisa, Dominic's mother, Laura, also wants people to know they are the exception.

"The more common stories are the kids like my son who now face a lifetime of health and medical issues.  I understand why the happy story gets the press, but the reality is that families of preemies have an uphill battle starting at birth," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Preemie Parents More Likely to Feel Depressed

Photodisc/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- Even after their babies make it home from the hospital, many parents of premature newborns are far from relaxed.

"These parents lose any sense of a normal pregnancy," said Discenza, co-author of The Preemie Parent's Survival Guide to the NICU. "They likely didn't have a baby shower, and that normal exciting baby feeling is tossed out the window and replaced with doctors appointments, home nurse visits, medical equipment going off, and wondering whether they should call 911."

"There's a whole spectrum of inappropriate comments while a preemie is in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and when the baby is finally out," said Discenza.

A new report from, an online patient community website, found that those insensitive or ignorant comments have a very real impact on the parents of premature infants. Out of 630 preemie parents who responded to an online survey, more than half said they had experienced insensitive comments about their baby, contributing to feelings of stress and isolation.

"We really felt like this is one of those things that you don't know about it until you're involved in it in a very personal way," said Brian Loew, CEO of Inspire.  "We hope that the rest of the world will see this and understand that this is an important issue."

"We also hope that others will get a sense that their own experience is not all that unique, and they're not the only ones dealing with this," he said.  "That can help enormously."

About 20 percent of the respondents said that they had lost relationships with one or more people who were important to them.  And experts said women who gave birth to children prematurely were at a much higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"For most families of premature infants, the birth of a new child is no longer just an exciting event, but a complex event that mixes joy with fear, concern [and] disappointment," said Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of the division of newborn medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  "Most of their friends and relatives have little concept of either life in a NICU or the future uncertainties that face premature infants as they grow and develop."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Advises Parents: Stop Feeding SimplyThick to Premature Infants

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FDA is encouraging parents, child and health care providers not to feed a thickening product added to breast milk and formula called SimplyThick to premature infants.  

According to an FDA release, the product could lead to a life-threatening condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC.  NEC is the inflammation and death of intestinal tissue.

The FDA has been alerted by medical centers from around the country to 15 reported illnesses and two deaths of infants born before 37 weeks.

Parents and caregivers who have concerns or questions regarding the advisory should contact their health care provider, the FDA says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio