'Tom Thumb' 9.7oz (275g) - Germany - June 2009
This baby boy born after a mere 25 weeks he is so small that the tape measure laid next to him is bigger than his limbs, as a result of his size, the team treating him in Göttingen, Germany nicknamed him 'Tom Thumb'.He was born by Caesarean section 15 weeks prematurely at the University of Medicine at Göttingen in western Germany in June 2009, weighing just 9.7 ounces (275 grams) and was only 10.5 inches (27cm) long.
The previous premature birth record is said to have been held by Tyler Martin who was born in New Jersey, in the U.S., in 2004 weighing 11oz (320g).
The lowest surviving birth weight for a girl is just over 8oz (244g).
Any baby born before eight months of pregnancy is considered premature. Very premature babies (less than 32 weeks) are considered at high risk of suffering developmental problems.
Doctors usually believe that babies weighing below 12oz (350g) will not survive. A can of Cola weighs 12oz, meaning this boy weighed just three quarters of a can.
For 24 hours a day, the child had one to one care, was in an incubator and hooked up to feeding tubes, breathing tubes, a heart monitor, a catheter and many other electronic devices to monitor every vital sign for every second of the day.Dr Stephan Seeliger, a prominent expert on premature babies, said; 'I spoke with the parents and said I thought this child was a fighter and would make it.'
Day by day he grew stronger, until his parents were allowed to take him home.
It was only in December that the baby was finally pronounced as 'stable' in the intensive care ward of the hospital having attained a weight of 8 pounds, considered average in Germany for a child at birth.
Update March 10, 2011: Nine months after his birth, it is only now, after medical staff decided he was strong enough to be taken home by his parents that they have made public his struggle to stay alive. His true identity has been kept secret at his parents' request.
The hospital says they are now confident 'Tom Thumb' will lead a normal, healthy life. A spokesman said: 'The danger has passed. He was most vulnerable when his organs were underdeveloped. Now he is the weight of a normal baby and healthy in every way.'
'After studying all the relevant documents we can say with some certainty that he was the smallest child in the world to survive such a premature birth in 2009,' said Stefan Weller, a spokesman for the university.
Only three babies have ever been recorded as being smaller than the child we delivered into the world in the emergency operating theatre at this university - all of these were girls.
Small babies - Low Birth Weight (LBW) or (SGA)
Small for gestational age (SGA) babies are those whose birth weight lies below the 10th percentile for that gestational age. Low birth weight (LBW), is sometimes used to define a baby that weighs less than 5 lb 8 oz (2500 g) regardless of gestational age. One third of babies born with a low birth weight are also small for gestational age.
Other definitions include Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) which is less than 3 lb 5 oz (1500 g), and Extremely Low Birth Weight (ELBW) which is less than 2 lb 3 oz (1000 g).
About 10 percent of fetuses are low birth weight. A health care provider may suspect fetal growth restriction if the mother's uterus measurement (fundal height) is lower than expected. This can be confirmed with a series of ultrasounds that will monitor how quickly the fetus is growing.
The main causes for Low Birth Weight:
The two main causes of LBW are early delivery, also known as preterm birth, and poor fetal growth. About 70% of all LBW babies are born preterm - before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. The remaining 30% of low birth weight babies are born at full term, but did not grow properly in the womb.
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Some of the world's lowest birth weight babies
In the table below are some of the many Low Birth Weight babies born around the world. These tiny babies when born; many weeks premature, weighed less than a can of soda.
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