Every year, 15 million babies around the world are born preterm, before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death in the U.S. and even if a woman does ‘everything right’ during pregnancy, there’s still a risk.
However, technological advancements and growing expertise about prematurity are increasing preterm babies’ chances of survival. Over the last 10 years, the smallest baby saved has improved from 550 to 350 grams, and the youngest baby saved has improved from 26 to 22 weeks.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re taking a look back at six stories that highlight the incredible journey taken by all parents.
What do these tiny babies have in common with Winston Churchill and Pablo Picasso?
In late December 2013, Ashley Piche and her husband Michael were getting ready for the New Year, not their twins… yet. Ashley was just 26 weeks pregnant– with a boy and a girl – and the excited, expectant parents had begun preparing the nursery for the babies’ arrival in April of 2014. The twins had other plans. Max and Michaela were born on December 30, 2013, a startling 14 weeks early after an otherwise healthy pregnancy.
Helping mothers and children in Ghana one scan at a time
Ghana has 319 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births and ranks 32nd in the world for maternal death. ISUOG’s Ghana Outreach Project hopes to reduce these numbers by training local midwives, sonographers and OB/GYN practitioners in ultrasound so they can in turn become trainers.
Twins born 15 weeks early, healthy and happy seven years later
At twenty-five weeks of pregnancy, babies in the womb are typically the size of a very small pumpkin. They develop a firm grasp and can stick out their tongue, but still need an additional fourteen to fifteen weeks to fully develop. But twenty-five weeks is when Makenna and Andrew decided to make an early entrance into this world.
Baby Yohannes: In Ethiopia, a woman’s second premature baby conquers all odds
In 2011, Workie, pregnant with her first child, went into labor prematurely at just seven months. Her daughter weighed 700 grams at birth and was in desperate need of glucose. Sadly, the child passed away just minutes after birth. At just 28 weeks gestation, Workie gave birth to her son at the same hospital where she had her first premature baby. Against all odds, he survived.
For this Mother, the third time was “golden”
Jill Canada was pregnant with her third child and thought she knew the drill. Her daughters, Kate and Allison who were five and seven years old at the time, were both born full term. Then came her third child.
15 weeks early. 99 days in the NICU. 1 family’s story
In 2014, Amy Little was pregnant with her third child. She and her husband, Josh, were expecting Charlie to be the biggest of the three, as he was measuring five days larger than what they had calculated. Charlie, however, had other plans.