'World's smallest infant' discharged from hospital 13 months after birth

Kwek Yu Xuan was 7.47 ounces and 9.5 inches long at birth

A Singapore baby once called "the world’s smallest" infant at birth has finally gone home after 13 months in the hospital.  

Kwek Yu Xuan was just 7.47 ounces at birth and just under 9.5 inches long when she was born on June 9, 2020. Doctors believed she had a "limited chance of survival" when she was born, the Singapore National University Hospital said at the time. 

On Saturday, the hospital finally discharged Yu Xuan at a much healthier 14 pounds. 

"We are happy for the little fighter and her family, and proud of the care provided by our team," the hospital said in a statement. "Our best wishes to Little Yu Xuan as she continues to grow, thrive and beat the odds every day."

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The hospital noted that Yu Xuan is likely the lightest baby to survive premature birth. Yu Xuan remained on a respirator and other machines to keep her alive for months. 

The previous record for smallest baby was a girl born in the United States in December 2018 weighing 8.6 ounces, according to The Strait Times

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Wong Mei Ling, 35, had to undergo cesarean section after doctors determined she suffered high blood pressure during her pregnancy, delivering Yu Xuan at around 25 weeks — far shorter than the average 40 weeks.

"I didn't expect to give birth so quickly, and we were very sad that Yu Xuan was born so small," Mei Ling told the Times. "But due to my condition, we didn't have a choice. We could just hope that she would continue to grow (and be healthy)."

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Mei Ling said she was surprised since her first child, a 4-year-old boy, was delivered at term. Yu Xuan was "barely the weight of a large apple," the hospital said. 

The survival rate for an infant born as early as Yu Xuan is between 60% and 70%, but most would have been discharged after four to six months in hospital. Yu Xuan’s stay of 13 months is longest an infant has remained in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

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The extensive stay came at a considerable cost of S$366,884 (about $270,000), but the couple managed to raise the funds through a crowdfunding campaign, the BBC reported