Baby the size of chopsticks survives after being born at just 23 weeks

Mom, baby, handsA miracle baby in China is making headlines after surviving being born at only 23 weeks. The newborn measures 28cm in length and has been nicknamed the "Chopstick girl" due to her tiny size (chopsticks range from 23 to 28 cm in height). Now eight days old, the premature baby was born after her mother underwent an emergency operation due to complications in her cervix. Prior to undergoing surgery, doctors told the expectant mother and her husband that their unborn child had almost no chance of surviving the procedure given that its organs were still developing. But, defying all medical odds, the baby lived through the surgery and is now fighting for her life at Chongqing Southwest Hospital. 

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Though no details have been released giving the exact reason for the mother's surgery, it's likely that doctors diagnosed her with cervical insufficiency, a rare condition whereby a woman's cervix is weaker than normal. The weight of a growing baby can put increasing pressure on an already weak cervix, causing it to dilate before the baby is full term. When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with cervical incompetence, doctors typically recommend that she undergo a procedure called cervical cerclage, in which the cervix is sewn closed during pregnancy to prevent premature labor. The procedure, however, is not typically performed on women in their second or third trimesters as risk factors increase--including that of a miscarriage. It's also possible that the expectant mother had already undergone this procedure and was now experiencing other complications, which can range from a cervical laceration to a rupture of the amniotic sac.

In this particular case, doctors believed that an emergency surgery was the only possible treatment but they also knew that the operation would most likely result in a "spontaneous abortion" or miscarriage. Understandably, the parents were desolate at the thought of losing their precious baby.

Fortunately, their baby girl is quite the fighter. The child, who weighs only 660 grams, survived the operation and was immediately placed in an incubator. The miracle baby has survived her first week out of the womb, defying all medical odds. Still, her organs and veins aren't yet fully developed, which has proved challenging for medical professionals striving to give her the proper amount of nutrients and medications. But, hopefully, Chopstick Girl will continue to amaze everyone and, with the help of doctors, she'll soon be in her mother's loving arms.

Image via Waqas Ahmed /Flickr

Topics: mirable babies  newborn  preemie  baby