Premature twins nursed to health in ‘miracle' feat

In a landmark achievement that the doctors themselves call a miracle, a pair of in-vitro twins born 14-18 weeks premature have been nurtured to normal health at the Central Obstetrics & Gynaecology Hospital.

When the babies were delivered on December 5 last year, the girl and boy weighed just 500g and 600g respectively.

After more than three months in the hospital, the twins have gained weight and can be fed by bottle.

On March 10, when they were released from the hospital, the girl Giang Thien Bao, weighed 2.3kg and the boy, Giang Thien An, 2.2 kg.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien hailed the achievement, saying it was the first time that Vietnamese doctors had saved the lives of babies born weighing just 500-600g.

The twins' mother, 29-year-old Ho Thi Hai Yen of Thai Binh Province, was giving birth for the second time. Her first child was also born in-vitro.

Dr, Nguyen Ngoc Loi, director of the centre that takes care of premature-babies in the hospital, said Yen was hospitalised with a stomach ache in November and gave birth in December after just 24 weeks of pregnancy.

At birth, the twins were very weak, with severe respiration failure, weak heartbeat and other reactions, Loi said. Doctors did not have much hope for their survival, but decided to do their best to try and save them.

The babies were immediately transfused with many medicines and put on a respirator, because they could not breathe on their own.

Fifty days after their birth, the babies were able to breathe normally.

Because of their premature birth, the babies were fed through their umbilical cords in the first days.

"But it was a miracle that after just 16 days, the babies could be fed via normal digestion systems," Loi told reporters.

Caring and feeding the babies was a very hard, delicate work. It took three hours to get just one ml of breast milk into each baby. And the feeding was done eight times a day. After 12 days, the babies started gaining weight.

Doctors called this another miracle, because the international average for under 1kg-babies to begin gaining weight is 17-18 days after birth.

After three months, the twins had reached the same weight as babies born normally.

Doctor Vu Ba Quyet, director of the hospital, said that even after their release from the hospital, the twins would be closely monitored by the doctors so that any abnormality could be detected immediately.

"The case is a scientific achievement for Vietnam's health sector," Quyet said.

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