An Iowa family is taking it day by day after their son was born extremely prematurely on July 11.
Jaden Wesley Morrow, of Des Moines, weighed just 13 ounces at birth, and his survival thus far already has shocked doctors, ABC News reports.
“[The doctors] just were shocked that something so little was trying to do stuff on his own and breathe,” said his mother, Ellonn Smartt.
Smartt said her pregnancy seemed normal until she went into labor unexpectedly earlier this month. She was only 23 weeks pregnant when Jaden was born.
“I started bawling my eyes out,” she said. “I had dreamed of a perfect pregnancy and I thought everything was going great. All my appointments were fine, I was healthy, I ate right. I did everything I was supposed to do.”
Doctors at the Blank Children’s Hospital told Smartt that her son may not survive, according to the report. But three weeks later, Jaden is doing well, his parents said.
“[The doctors] are kind of going day by day,” his mother said. “They’re pretty much saying he looks really great, and, like I said, they’re going day by day, but so far he’s looking great.”
The family expects that their son will be in the hospital for several months until he grows strong enough to go home.
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Modern medical advances are enabling younger and smaller premature babies to survive and thrive. The smallest recorded surviving baby weighed less than 9 ounces at birth. Born in California in December 2018, baby Saybie was deemed well enough to go home in May.
The earliest known premature baby to survive outside the womb was born at 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. In 2017, the journal Pediatrics highlighted the girl’s survival story.
A 2017 Duke University study found that babies born at 23 weeks are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than ever before. Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.
Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that 23 percent of premature infants are surviving as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy. However, the study also found that some hospitals do not treat babies at this early age.