By Joan Odafe
The Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre (AOMCC) says it has successfully managed and discharged a preterm baby who weighed 700g at birth.
The Medical Director of AOMCC, Dr Dapo Soyinka, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a Lagos on Wednesday – when the baby boy came for checkup – that he weighed 1.5kg within 50 days.
Soyinka said that successful delivery and management of a pre-term baby with such weight was a feat for the hospital which, he said, had not had such a challenge.
He said that the baby was not only born too early but also born too small for his gestational age.
According to him, it took expertise and dedication of specialists and staff of the hospital to be able to successfully manage the baby.
He pledged the hospital’s continued monitoring of the baby’s development until 24 months, to ensure there would not be any complications.
The hospital‘s Head of Paediatrics Department, Dr Oyejoke Oyapero, also told NAN that the hospital was informed – when the mother was referred to the hospital – to expect a small baby.
She said that the hospital was worried about the weight.
“Our fear was heightened with the weight of 700g, which is the smallest we have had in this hospital.
“We were very skeptical about the survival of the baby because a baby is supposed to be about 25 weeks at that size, not 33 weeks, and the chance of survival is really slim,” she said.
The paediatrician told NAN that after assessing the baby, given his size and age, the hospital intended to refer the baby to a tertiary hospital but could not find any with a space to admit him.
She noted that babies born too early, too small or too sick could develop complications that may lead to cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other diseases.
“So, we progressed with the management of the baby, put him in an 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 600g and we were scared but he started picking up again, and as the days went by, he got to 1,000g (one kilogramme), then 1,200g.
“We had to bring the baby out of the incubator earlier because he had stayed longer, given the age, and monitored him closely,” she said.
Oyapero added that the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) was then adopted to help the baby to get heat from the mother.
She said that this served as an apnea monitor to keep him awake and alive.
She told NAN that managing the preterm baby, who was born during the period of the total lockdown in the state , was challenging for the hospital and his mother, who had to monitor the baby two-hourly.
The paediatrician praised the Lagos State Government (LASG) for initiating free medicals in April which, she said, helped to speed up investigations, treatments and other procedures.
“We were giving the baby breastmilk as soon as he was able to feed orally, and supplemented with preterm formula to help him to gain weight.
“To the glory of God, the baby continued to gain weight and at 1, 400g, we were preparing to send him home.
“On review today, the baby has reached 1,800g (1.8kg), which is very significant for a 60-day —old; he has been gaining about 30g daily,” she said.
She urged pregnant women to go to hospitals with facilities that could manage sick or pre-term babies.
She also advised them to go for antenatal care regularly, take their drugs, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, rest well and go to hospital without delay.
Oyapero commended the teamwork of staff and management of AOMCC, the parents and the LASG for the successful management of the baby.
The baby’s mother, Mrs Ojoma Ekhomun, said she was not sick during the pregnancy but experienced little pain on her navel at 27 weeks.
Ekhomun, who is a hairstylist, said she did not experience any problem but was not eating well and not taking enough rest.
“When I went for my antenatal care, I requested to know my exact day of delivery; while carrying out ultrasound scan, they discovered that the amniotic fluid had reduced.
“I also remember that I missed my check up at five months and my doctor wasn’t happy with it when I went at about six months,” she said.
Ekhomun said it was challenging taking care of a pre-term baby.
“I am not scared. With the way he is improving daily, I have faith that with God and the help of the hospital, my baby won’t have any complication,” she said.
She urged pregnant women not to miss their antenatal care appointments, adding that they should eat properly and rest well.
She praised the LASG, staff and management of AOMCC for helping to save her baby.