'Perla' - 10 oz (285 g)

premature small babies (SGA) and (LBW)


'Perla' - 10 oz (285 g) - February 2002

The baby girl - nicknamed 'Perla' by her medical team - weighed only 285 grams (10 ounces) at birth at the Careggi hospital in Florence, Italy.

Paediatrician Margarita Psaraki, part of Perla's medical team said, "I was afraid of holding her, doctors could not believe her size when she was born."

"She would fit right into your hand." "She was ten inches (25 centimetres) long, but that's when she was stretched out, normally babies curl up."

Perla's life was in the balance even before she was born.

Doctors induced the birth after fears for her 28-year-old mother's health.

Her mother developed arteritis - an inflammation of the arteries that led doctors at one point to consider amputating her leg and prompted them to deliver the baby early.

And after the birth, they were unsure how to proceed, given the tiny size of the baby; premature babies who survive birth at 27 weeks or later still face the prospect of severe mental or physical problems later in life.

Doctors spent three months nursing Perla back to health, at one point even commissioning a medical technology supplier to make equipment small enough for them to use on her.

"She really had the will to live, she was strong and lively," Ms Psaraki said "She was immediately lively, active. This helped us to help her."

Update May 26, 2002: 

Perla, born two months premature, spent three months in intensive care following her birth, suffering from breathing difficulties, anaemia, hypothyroidism, hypoglycaemia and jaundice, according to Italian media reports.

Now weighing two kilograms (4.4 pounds), doctors said she now has almost a 100% chance of leading a normal life, and that her parents can bring her up normally.

"She had the good fortune to arrive in the 27th week, all her organs were already formed and that's why it was possible to save her," one of Italy's top neonatal experts, Giorgio Rondini, told the media.

"Twenty years ago, 80% of newborn babies died if they weighed less than 1.5kg. Today 85% are saved and will not necessarily have growth difficulties."



Small babies - Low Birth Weight (LBW) or (SGA)

  • At full term, the average baby will be about 20 inches (51 cm) long and will weigh approximately 6 to 9 pounds (2700 to 4000 grams).

premature babySmall 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.
More Information on...
Low Birth Weight (LBW) and (SGA)   ¦   High Birth Weight (HBW) and (LGA)



Some of the world's lowest birth weight babies

Born weighing less than a can of soda
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.

For more information on these tiny premature babies, some photos and updates, click on the name links in the table below.

Birth Weight
ounces  ¦   grams
of Birth


Place of Birth
8.4 oz 244 g 2004 Rumaisa (F) Chicago, IL,USA 25 weeks
9.1 oz 259 g 2009 Oliviyanna (F) Alabama, US 24 weeks
9.3 oz 265 g 2006 - (F) Tokyo, Japan 25 weeks
9.7 oz 275 g 2009 ''Tom Thumb'' (M) Göttingen, Germany 25 weeks
9.88 oz 280 g 1989 Madeline (F) Chicago ,IL,USA 26 weeks
10 oz 283 g 2006 Amillia (F) Miami, FL,USA 23 weeks
10 oz 283 g 1938 Marian (F) South Shields, UK 34 weeks
10 oz 285 g 2002 ''Perla'' (F) Florence, Italy 27 weeks
10.2 oz 289 g 1999 - (F) Tokyo, Japan 23 weeks
10.24 oz 290 g 2000 Sophia (F) Portland, OR,USA 25 weeks
10.26 oz 290 g 2001 - (F) Ulm, Germany 23 weeks
10.26 oz 290 g 2007 - (F) Houston, TX,USA 23 weeks
10.6 oz 300 g 2000 - (F) Holon, Israel 25 weeks
10.6 oz 300 g 2007 Kimberly (F) Göttingen, Germany 25 weeks
10.7 oz 303 g 2002 - (F) Landstuhl, Germany 26 weeks
10.8 oz 305 g 2004 Zoe Koz (F) Naperville, IL,USA 27 weeks
10.9 oz 310 g 2000 - (F) Evansville, IN,USA 26 weeks
11.7 oz 332 g 2004 - (M) Des Moines, IA,USA 26 weeks
12.5 oz 354 g 2007 Ruby Dunn (F) Bristol, UK 26 weeks


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