An extremely premature baby is fighting for his life in Georgia after he was born weighing only 13 ounces, about the size of an adult’s hand.
Just a few years ago, many hospitals would not even try to save a baby born at 21 weeks of pregnancy because they were not considered viable. But today, more babies are surviving at earlier stages of pregnancy.
Jemarius Jachin Harbor was born on Dec. 20 at Emory Decatur Hospital in Georgia, Fox 5 Atlanta reports. Now, his parents are praying and clinging to the hope that he will survive like other micro-preemies born at the same stage of development.
“I had just 21 weeks at 12 o’clock, 12:12 I had him. He’s actually has a fighting chance, that’s my miracle baby,” his mother, Jessica McPherson, said.
McPherson said she and her fiance urged doctors to do everything they could to save their son’s life. She told the local news that she lost two other babies to late miscarriages around 22 weeks of pregnancy.
“You know there are going to be good days and going to be bad days because he is so small, but as long as we stay positive that’s all that matters,” McPherson said.
The chance of survival for such premature babies is low but not impossible, and research indicates that survival rates are growing.
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.
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 research recently prompted the British Association of Medicine to issue new guidelines encouraging medical treatment for babies born at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Previously, the guidelines did not recommend treatment until 24 weeks.