Premature baby weighing less than a loaf of bread heads home

(Right to Life UK) — A baby born 16 weeks early and weighing less than one loaf at birth finally home after four months in the hospital.

Baby Liylah was born at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital to parents, Kimberley and James Leith, from Horsehay. He weighed only 650 grams at birth.

Mum, Kimberley, attended maternity triage with severe abdominal pain when she was 24 weeks pregnant. The pains turned into contractions and she gave birth to baby Liylah a few hours later on 5 January 2023.

He said “At 1lb 6oz (650g), Liylah is less than a loaf of bread and her head is smaller than a tennis ball. Stretched from head to toe, only 29cm long.”

“I was able to hug Liylah for the first time”

His parents were not allowed to hold him until he was about three weeks old because he had to be given special care in nearby hospitals.

“Due to her size, Liylah was placed on a ventilator, incubated and taken straight to the neonatal ward before being transferred to Newcross Hospital in Wolverhampton and then to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for surgery and specialist care.”

For almost three months, James and Kimberley had to tell a neonatal flat at Birmingham Woman’s Hospital to be close to Liylah. During this time, Kimberley said “We learned how to tube feed her and at 21 days old, with three nurses there to safely transfer her for skin-to-skin contact, I was able to hold Liylah for the first time”.

On March 17, after about three months at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, baby Liylah was strong enough to be transferred back to the Princess Royal Hospital. Her parents are relieved that Liylah is in the hospital. In the following weeks, Liylah really improved. James and Kimberley bathed and fed him. He is also starting to breathe on his own, reducing his reliance on oxygen support and was discharged later this week.

Improving outcomes for premature infants

A study‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, including infants born between 22 and 28 weeks of gestation, “survival to discharge occurred at 78.3% and was significantly improved compared to the previous rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.

The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 babies born between 22 and 28 weeks’ gestation at 19 academic medical centers across the US.

This means that almost four out of five premature babies survive and are able to be assessed at 22-26 months of age (22-26 months from their due date) for some health and performance outcomes.

Right To Life UK spokeswoman Catherine Robinson said “Baby Liylah’s inspirational story is a testament to improving outcomes for premature babies and an ongoing challenge to the current abortion time limit of 24 weeks in the UK.”

Editor’s Note: This article is original published on Right to Life UK and reprinted here with permission.

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