The baby girl, who at birth weighed only 545 grams, spent three months in an incubator. Photo: China News Service

After nearly three months of intensive treatment at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, a baby girl who weighed only 545 grams at birth has at last gone home with her tearful, happy parents.

The infant, at birth only the size of an adult’s palm and born during the 28th week of gestation, was rushed to Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. Her mother had previously suffered four miscarriages.

The newborn’s skin was so thin it was almost transparent, and her thighs were thinner than an adult’s thumb, according to People’s Daily. She spent the first three months of her life inside an incubator battling risks and complications.

Obstetricians and pediatricians at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit were mobilized in an all-out bid to save the life of the fragile preterm neonate.

The girl was the size of an adult’s palm when she was born 12 weeks premature. Photo: China News Service

Medical teams developed comprehensive plans for the baby’s respiratory management, nutritional support, and most importantly, infection prevention.

They also adopted the novel “kangaroo mother care” method, detailed in a World Health Organization guideline, which encourages frequent skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center said the baby girl was the lightest premature infant it had ever cared for.

Preterm birth is the birth of a baby at fewer than 37 weeks’ gestational age. Preterm infants usually show physical signs of prematurity in reverse proportion to the gestational age. As a result, they are at risk of numerous medical problems affecting different organ systems.

China sees a large number of premature babies born every year, among which the number of very low (less than 1,500 grams) and ultra-low (less than 1,000 grams) birth weight babies is increasing every year with more mothers aged 35 or above giving birth.

There are about 12 million premature babies born in the world every year. China welcomes some 1 million premature babies annually, rating No.2 globally, in line with the nation’s share of the world’s total population.

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