World's Smallest Baby?

A tiny German baby named Kimberley who weighed just 10 ounces when she was born six months ago is headed home.

Billed as the “world’s smallest surviving baby, Kimberley was a mere 10.2 inches in length and weighed a little more than a stick of butter when she was first born. But a baby born in Chicago in 2004 was even smaller, weighing just 8.6 ounces at birth.

Little Rumaisa Rahman and a larger twin sister (who weighed one pound, four ounces) were born at Loyola University Medical Center three years ago and miraculously survived their preterm births.

“Baby Kimberley” may be the smallest baby ever born in Germany and the youngest in the world to survive with a chance of less than 1,000 to one, according to Britain’s Daily Mail. Click here to read the Daily Mail story

Now 5 pounds and measuring 17 inches, doctors kept Kimberley alive by placing her in an incubator for warmth. They also fed her through a drip and gave her a respirator to help her breathe. Drugs were used to boost her immune system, and she was given laser treatment on her eyes when she was just 3-months-old to prevent her from going blind.

In the next few weeks, Kimberley will continue to be fed artificially and will be given oxygen to help her lungs continue to develop.

Premature Birth Risks

Premature births, defined as live births that occur anytime before the 37 weeks of pregnancy are complete, affected 12.5 percent of births in the U.S. in 2005, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Premature labor continues to plague pregnancies in the U.S., according to Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing editor of Health for

The biggest challenges, according to Alvarez, are the actual complications that often occur during premature labor and recognizing some of the signs that may lead to premature birth during pregnancy.

“The exact mechanism is not well-understood, but there are several risk factors, including infection, smoking, alcohol consumption, multiple (and) past births of twins, triplets, quadruplets, and especially a prior history of premature births,” he said.

Early prenatal care is the best way to reduce preterm birth, said Alvarez. “The key is identifying the risk factors and modifying your prenatal care, so you get more bang for your buck,” he said. “More frequent doctor visits, early bed rest during pregnancy and ultrasounds are some of the things that are utilized with patients. Preterm delivery affects all ages and races of reproduction.”