Curtis Means, a 16-month-old toddler has now become the world’s most premature born baby to survive. In fact, Guinness World Records confirmed his badge of honour recently.
Born at just 21 weeks, one day (148 days) at around 1 pm on July 5 last year; Curtis weighed less than a pound. But even with odds of his survival against him, he proved to be a real fighter and now wears his new title with pride.
His mum, Michelle Butler–who went into labour in Alabama, on July 4 in 2020–shared that while her pregnancy was progressing well and she was on track to go to full-term, she developed complications that prompted her to give birth to a premature baby.
World’s Most Premature Baby Weighed 420 Grams
Image courtesy: Guinness World Record
Unfortunately, Curtis, who weighed less than a pound (420 grams) also had a twin, C’Asya, who died the following day. But brave Curtis, who had just a one per cent chance of survival, was in no mood to lose the battle.
Doctors placed him on a ventilator for three months and therapists taught him how to breathe and eat. The hospital discharge little Curtis in April 2021, after he spent 275 days there.
Mrs Butler, who is also the mum of three older children, said, ‘I will always remember the moment when we could finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother.”
The baby boy still needs extra oxygen and a feeding tube, but his health has improved.
Dr Brian Sims, who oversaw Mrs Butler’s delivery, was quoted as saying, ‘I’ve been doing it for the past 20 years but I’ve never seen a baby this young to be as strong as Curtis.”
While Curtis has broken the record as the world’s most premature baby, there were a few fighters before him too.
World’s Most Premature Baby: Previous Record
Richard Hutchinson held the previous record as the most premature baby born in the world. He was born five months early and the neonatal specialists in the US state of Minnesota had given him a zero per cent chance of survival.
At the time of his birth, he was just 340 grams. His mother developed some complications 131 days before his due date and was rushed to the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and went into early labour.
He was born at a gestational age of 21 weeks and two days. Richard was so tiny that he could fit in the palms of his parents’ hands. The little boy celebrated his first birthday at home with his parents and large extended family on June 5 this year.
Before Richard, this record had remained unbroken for 34 years. James Elgin Gill was born in Canada, at a gestational age of 21 weeks 5 days, (128 days premature) on May 20, 1987.
Gestational Age Of Babies
Image Source: iStock
If you are a first-time mum, there is already a lot on your plate. But if your baby is premature, you can face a different set of challenges, particularly when it comes to feeding your baby.
The fetus is a full-term baby when they are born at 40 weeks. Meanwhile, babies born before 37 weeks of gestation is pre-term, while infants born after 42 weeks is a post-term baby.
Based on the gestational age, here are the categories of preterm birth.
- Extremely preterm (Those who are born at less than 28 weeks)
- Very preterm (Infants born between 28 to 32 weeks)
- Moderate to late preterm (For those infants who are born between 32 to 37 weeks).
For the majority of preterm babies who were born as early as Curtis, the chances of a long-term future are quite slim. This is what makes Curtis’ recovery and stories of many such infants so much more exceptional and inspiring.
Lead/feature images courtesy: Guinness World Record
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