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World's most premature baby
Amillia Taylor, the world's smallest surviving baby
Amillia Taylor, the world's smallest surviving baby

In the United States, a baby born just twenty-two weeks after conception is expected to be allowed home within the next few days. Doctors in Miami believe that Amillia Sonja Taylor is the most premature baby on record to survive. This report from Jeremy Cooke.

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Amillia Taylor was born on October 24th last year, just twenty-one weeks and six days after conception. She was delivered by Caesarean section, barely the length of a ballpoint pen and weighing just two-hundred-and-eighty-three grams.

A team of doctors at the Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami were at first doubtful that Amillia could live. Four months later they are celebrating a remarkable story of survival. Despite respiratory difficulties, digestive problems and a minor brain haemorrhage, Amillia is thriving. She now weighs more than one-point-eight kilos and is expected to be allowed to go home with her parents within the next few days.

It's believed that Amillia is the most premature baby on record to have survived and her case reopens the on-going debate about at what stage a foetus should be regarded as potentially viable. Clearly Amillia's story is hugely satisfying for her doctors and of course her parents but others in the medical community are stressing that hers is anything but a typical outcome. It is previously unheard of for a baby born at less than twenty-three weeks' gestation to live.

Jeremy Cooke, BBC News, New York

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the act of becoming pregnant; fertilization of an egg by a sperm

born (with the help of doctors)

Caesarean section
a cut made by doctors through a woman's abdomen and womb, done so that a baby can be born

only just, hardly, not more than

heavy or uncontrolled bleeding

growing or developing very successfully; very strong and healthy

born after a gestation period of less than the normal time, especially in humans, after a period of less than 37 weeks

unborn baby

potentially viable
having the possibility of survival

the period of an unborn baby's development until birth; pregnancy

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