World’s tiniest babies growing up healthy

World’s smallest surviving babies, who were born as tiny as an iPhone, are growing up and doing fine with normal motor and language development, physicians have revealed.

In 1989, Madeline Mann became the world’s smallest surviving baby after she was born at Loyola University Medical Centre weighing just 280 g.

Later Rumaisa Rahmam set a new Guinness World Record in 2004 after she was born at Loyola, weighing 260 g.

Now, Loyola physicians have revealed that both Madeline and Rumaisa have normal motor and language development.

Rumaisa, 7, is a first grader and Madeline, 22, is an honour student at Augustana College in Rock Island, Il. But they both remain small for their ages.

Rumaisa remains the world’s smallest surviving baby, and Madeline now is the world’s fourth smallest surviving baby, according to a registry kept by the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Physician Jonathan Muraskas, MD, and colleagues caution that successful outcomes such as Madeline and Rumaisa are not necessarily typical.

Many extremely low-birth-weight preemies either do not survive or grow up with severe, lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and blindness.

Comparing other micropreemies with Madeline and Rumaisa could “propagate false expectations for families, caregivers and the medico-legal community alike,” Muraskas and colleagues wrote.

They noted that advances in neonatal care have allowed the resuscitation and survival of smaller and smaller newborns.

The physicians reported the remarkable development in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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