The Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre (AOMCC) has discharged a baby who weighed 700 grams at birth and managed successfully to 1.5kg in about 50 days.
The Medical Director of AOMCC, Dr Dapo Soyinka, told Daily Sun recently in Lagos that the delivery and management of a preterm baby, with such weight, was a milestone because it was a first-of-its-kind for them.
Dr Soyinka said it was peculiar because the baby was not only born too soon but also born too small for his gestational age.
According to him, it took expertise and dedication of the specialists and staff of the Hospital to be able to achieve it.
The MD pledged the Hospital’s support to continue monitoring the baby until he is about 24 months, to ensure that he doesn’t develop any complications.
The Head of Paediatrics Department, Dr Oyejoke Oyapero, also told Daily Sun that the hospital was informed when the mother was referred to them to expect a small baby, so they were worried about the weight.
‘Our fears were heightened with the weight of 700 grams, that is the smallest we have had in this hospital.
‘We were very skeptical about the survival of the baby because these kind of babies are supposed to be about 25 weeks at that size, not at 33 weeks and their chance of survival is really slim,’ she said.
The paediatrician added that after assessing the baby, given his size and age, they would have referred the baby to one of the State’s tertiary hospitals but couldn’t find any with space to admit him.
She noted that babies born too soon, too small or too sick could develop complications that may lead to cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other diseases.
‘Given the complexities of the delivery, we progressed with the management of the baby, put him in the incubator, gave drugs to monitor any apnea (cessation in breathing) and fortunately, he did not have a lot of that.
‘The baby pulled through, we needed to transfuse at some point and we put the baby under photo-therapy, expecting jaundice.
‘At the first week he dropped to 600 grams and we were scared but he started picking up again and as the days went by, we got to 1,000 grams (1kg), then 1,200 grams.
‘We had to bring the baby out of the incubator earlier because he had stayed longer given the age and the weight and monitored him closely,’ she said.
Oyapero also noted that the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) was then adopted to help the baby get heat from his mother and served as an apnea monitor to keep him awake and alive.
She further said managing the preterm neonate, who was born during the period of the total lockdown in the state was quite challenging for not just the hospital but also the mother, who had to monitor the baby two-hourly.
The paediatrician praised the Lagos State Government (LASG) for initiating the free medicals in April, which she said helped to speed up investigations, treatments and other procedures.
‘We were giving the baby breast milk as soon as he was able to feed orally and supplemented with preterm formula to help him gain weight.
‘To the glory of God, the baby continued to gain weight and at 1,400 grams, we were preparing to send him home.
‘On review today, the baby has reached 1,800 grams (1.8kg), which is very significant for 60 days old; he has been gaining about 30 grams daily,’ she said.
She urged pregnant mothers to ensure they go to hospitals with facilities that can manage sick or preterm babies.
She further urged them to go for antenatals regularly, take their medication, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, rest well and go to the hospital as soon as they noticed anything amiss.
Oyapero commended the teamwork of staff and management of AOMCC, the parents and the LASG for the successful management of the baby.
The mother, Mrs Ojoma Ekhomun, a hairstylist, said she wasn’t sick during the pregnancy but experienced little pain on her navel around 27 weeks probably she wasn’t eating well and not taking enough rests
‘When I went for my antenatal, I requested to know my exact day of delivery and while carrying out the ultrasound scan, they discovered that the amniotic fluid had reduced.
‘I also remember that I missed my check up at about five months and my doctor wasn’t happy with when I went at about six months,’ she said.
Ekhomun said it was challenging taking care of a preterm baby, particularly because she had been doing a two-hourly check on the baby daily.
‘I’m not scared, with the way he’s improving daily, I have faith that with God and the help of the hospital, my baby won’t have complications growing up,’ she said.
She urged pregnant women to observe all necessary procedures before and after delivery and praised the LASG staff and the management of AOMCC for helping to save her baby.