Premature babies born sub 25 weeks – are known as micro prems – and some neonatal units in South Africa have developed such advanced bio mimicry incubators – in other words an extra uterine womb as close to nature as possible – that these minute babies are given more than a fighting chance.
Dr. Ricky Dipenaar is a neonatologist and he heads up units at Cape Towns Blouberg and N1 City Netcare hospitals where he specialises in the care of these tiny babies. All babies born before the 40-week gestation period are considered premature, but these sub 25-weekers are far more high risk.
Their tiny organs and systems are not developed yet. He explains how they create extra uterine incubators to help these babies survive. And we meet a young woman Zanele who did not realise she was 22 weeks pregnant, and then had to have an emergency C-section and gave birth to a micro prem at 25 weeks. Despite all this she and baby are doing very well.
Click below to hear Barbara Friedman unpack the story...