World’s most premature baby is growing normally three years on

Rob Waugh

A baby described as the ‘the most premature known survivor to date’ is doing well three years after she was born at less than 22 weeks.

A new paper in the journal Pediatrics shows that the girl is developing normal motor and cognitive skills, despite being born at an age where doctors previously believed babies could not survive.

Babies are classified as premature if they are born before 37 weeks – but the little girl was born at 21 weeks and four days.

Her mother Courtney Stensrud, had been hospitalised with a placental infection and ruptured membranes – and says she lay in her hospital bed searching for other examples of babies born at 21 weeks.

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The baby weighed just 15 ounces at birth.


Stensrud says, ‘If you didn’t know that she was so preemie, you would think she’s a normal three-year-old.’

‘In her school, she is keeping up with all the other three-year-olds. She loves playing with other kids. She loves everything I think a normal three-year-old likes. She loves her baby dolls, she loves books, and she loves make-believe. She loves anything and everything her (older) brother is doing.’