Thrissur (Kerala) June 29: In what is believed to be a first in the country, twins born prematurely in the 24th week have defied risks and survived to complete 38 weeks of their existence.
Born to opthalmologist Sandhya and IT professional Rajeev, these two babies are all set to leave the hospital and go home, doctors said. The normal gestation period for human babies is between 37 and 42 weeks.
The mother and the twins have been under the care of Craft IVF Hospital and Research in Kodungallur, near here.
Sandhya, 34, had conceived through in-vitro fertilisation. Though the pregnancy was mostly uneventful, except for her diabetes which was controlled, she went into labour on 24 weeks of pregnancy and delivered two male babies weighing 670 gm and 645 gm.
The babies, who were shifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, had breathing difficulty. Ventilators were used to facilitate expansion of their lungs.
"To nurture these preterm babies to normalcy was a humbling experience for all of us at the Craft IVF," said the hospital's Chairman Muhammed Ashraf. "In many premature deliveries with multiple babies, it is common to lose them. For us the top priority was to ensure that the babies survived," he added.
"One of the challenges we faced was getting intravenous access which was very difficult and had to be managed with the help of central lines. The babies were prone to intraventricular haemorrhage (bleeding into brain) and necrotizing enterocolitis (infection of the bowel)," said Abdul Majeed, a medical professional who played a key role.
Murali Raj, another member of the medical team, said prolonged ventilation was required for the babies as both had temporary cessation of breathing as the respiratory control centre was immature.
"Under proper supportive care, both the babies consistently gained weight and now with three months of hospital stay, the babies are 1.8 kg and 1.55 kg. Both of them are gaining weight," said Raj.
Sandhya said the babies were provided the right treatment and it is a blessing that both the sons survived.
"They (babies) are no doubt fighters but all this would not have been possible without the support of the doctors and the nursing staff," echoed the proud father, Rajeev.