The baby weighed just 460 grams when she born in early November at just 21 weeks and five days, and was not initially expected to survive. The general view of the Association of Neonatology is that babies born before the 22nd week of pregnancy will not live.
Yet the little girl, called Frieda, now weighs in at a healthy 3,500 grams and is being sent home in Fulda near Frankfurt.
Her mother, who has asked not to be identified, experienced problems in the 15th week of the pregnancy and was admitted to hospital to reverse the onset of early labour. But doctors managed to delay the birth by a further ten days, but no more than that.
As soon as the tiny baby was born she was whisked into an incubator and intensively cared for.
“Her life was hanging from a thread, but she fought through,” said Reinald Repp, head doctor at Fulda Hospital.
“There is no indication that she cannot be healthy.”
There are no reports in medical literature of more premature babies having survived, although some who were born physically smaller than Frieda have made it. One little boy was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1987 at the same stage of pregnancy – 21 weeks and five days – and survived.