The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Baby arrives months before delivery date

Twenty-five weeks and four days — Shampa Saha’s baby boy was all of that at birth. But the premature child and his mother are doing fine. Doctors at a city hospital have successfully delivered a 25-week baby, grossly underweight at 650 g, on May 22. Mother Shampa, in fact, delivered premature twins, but the girl child died immediately after birth.

Shampa, a housewife from Nabadwip, in Nadia district, had suddenly developed labour pains in the 26th week of pregnancy. The twins were delivered normally. Physicians attached to the hospital described the feat as a “breakthrough in medical science”, as the baby was born three weeks before the delivery date.

Doctors who helped the mother through the delivery at Peerless Hospital and Research Centre claimed that no one from Bengal now needs to go to other states for such critical cases.

“We have the requisite infrastructure and expertise for such an emergency,” said a doctor at the hospital. Shampa and the baby boy are still under observation at the hospital. The baby now weighs 1.3 kg. “We can release the mother and the son as both are fine. But we want to keep them under observation for a few more days,” said Amit Ray, part of the four-member team of doctors monitoring the case.

Baidyanath Chakraborty, a pioneer in the field of test tube babies, had conducted the In-Vitrio Fertilisation (IVF) procedure on Shampa at the Salt Lake-based Institute of Reproductive Medicine (IRM). Shampa and her husband, Dinesh, had approached Chakraborty, who had successfully conducted the IVF procedure on Shampa.

Since there is a long-standing arrangement between Peerless Hospital and IRM, deliveries of all pregnancies under IVF procedure are taken care of at Peerless Hospital. “My dream of becoming a mother has come true and now I am very grateful to the doctors and nursing staff of the hospital, who have taken care of me and my son,” said Shampa.

Biman Ghosh, a gynaecologist attached to the hospital, who is standing in on the case, recalled how “the surviving foetus was grossly underweight” at birth. “Special facilities and support services, such as transport incubator, neonatal ventilation and scope for total parental nutrition, was put on round-the-clock standby mode. Pre-term babies often develop sepsis and secondary infections, which we countered successfully,” explained Ghosh.

Paediatrician Manidipa Banerjee, under whose care the infant is growing, said the entire team spent sleepless nights keeping a close watch over the baby boy. “At first, we had to feed the baby artificially, but now he is all right and Shampa is breast-feeding him,” said Banerjee.

Contamination claim: Residents of the Mullickbazar-Macleod Street area suffer frequent bouts of diarrhoea because of contamination in drinking water. According to complaints received by the water supply department, household taps spew water containing black particles, that are particularly heavy in concentration after waterlogging in the area after a shower. The department has yet to collect samples for tests.

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