Emilia Grabarczyk, who is regarded as the "world's smallest baby" is dubbed by doctors as "the little fighter."

Baby Grabarczyk was born at 25 weeks weighing 8 ounces and 8.6 inches long at Maria hospital in the German city of Witten, near Dortmund about nine months ago. In comparison, the baby weighed slightly less than an average grapefruit and her foot was 1.2 inches, roughly the size of an almond.

Sabine Grabarczyk, 30, delivered her premature baby by Caesarean section following a warning by obstetrician Dr. Sven Schiermeier. Sabine and Lukas Grabarczyk decided to go on with the surgery after it was revealed that the placenta was unable to provide sufficient nutrition to the growing baby. It was certain that the Little Fighter wouldn't survive if it wasn't delivered.

Thanks to the doctors, the miracle baby survived the odd though born as little as an orange. Despite complications of premature birth that includes an abdominal surgery, Grabarczyk has no signs of disability. The little one was initially fed with the help of a tiny tube and was at times soothed with cotton buds dipped in sugar water.

"Even children with a birth weight of 14 ounces rarely survive. We have to thank Emilia as well for her own survival. She is a little fighter," said Dr. Bahman Gharavi, Head of Children and Youth Clinic at St Mary's hospital.

Gharavi, who noted that Grabarczyk is showing great progress in the recent weeks, also said that they had little hope on her for the first six months. The doctor thanked the gynaecologists, paediatricians, and paediatric surgeons for their team effort in helping the baby survive.

Grabarczyk snatched the world's smallest surviving premature baby title from Rumaisa Rahman born at 25 weeks in the Loyola University Medical Centre in the U.S. city of Chicago in 2004. Rahman was less than 10 inches long and weighed 8.6 ounces when she was born.

Grabarczyk's mother said that in spite of difficulties the baby was determined to live.

Generally, most premature babies suffer a lot of short and long-term health risks. The short term complications include breathing difficulty; heart and brain problems; temperature control issues; metabolism and gastrointestinal problems; underdeveloped immune system; and blood problems like anemia and jaundice.

Long term complications include cerebral palsy; dental, vision and hearing problems; impaired cognitive skills; behavioral and psychological problems; chronic health issues like asthma; and feeding problems. Premature babies have an elevated risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Photo: Erin Stevenson O'Connor | Flickr

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