Asia's smallest surviving baby: Infant born weighing less than a chocolate bar in India

Abandoned baby in Malaysia
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India has witnessed the miracle of a mother giving birth to a baby girl weighing just 400 gm or less than a chocolate bar in a hospital in Rajasthan's Udaipur city. Born on June 15, 2017, Manushi measured just 8.6 inches long and her foot was the size of her father's thumb.

Manushi is said to be the smallest surviving baby ever born in Asia. Reports said that she had underdeveloped lungs, heart, brain, kidneys and had paper-thin skin. Her life was in immense danger, as she was not breathing when she was born. However, after spending six months in hospital, the little baby has finally gone home.

The Hindu reported that Manushi was born 12 weeks early to Seeta, who had to undergo premature C-section after her blood pressure became uncontrollable. The ultrasonography revealed that there was no blood flow to the foetus and the 48-year-old mother was immediately taken to the operation theatre.

"To salvage a baby of this size was a challenging task. There is no reported survival of a newborn weighing this small in the Indian sub-continent," Neonatologist Dr. Sunil Janged, who led a team of doctors and nursing staff for Manushi's survival, told The Hindu.

Janged said that Manushi was shifted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) because she was unable to breathe. The doctors put her on a ventilator to expand her immature lungs. Manushi's case was taken as a challenge and she was saved.

Initially, it was extremely difficult to save Manushi as she lost weight. But, she was able to digest milk by the seventh week. "The biggest challenge for our team was to prevent any infection to her and our team managed it very well," Dr. Janged added.

"We are grateful to Seeta and her family and we appreciate them for setting a new example to the community. Rajasthan where the girls, still considered a burden, are thrown into the trash immediately after birth or are left in the orphanage. The couple treated their baby girl who had a negligible chance of survival," Dr. Ajay Gambhir, former president of the Neonatology Forum of India, told Hindustan Times.

Currently, Manushi is in a healthy condition and weighs 5.2lbs. In 2012, a baby weighing 450 g was born in Mohali, India.

This article was first published on January 13, 2018