NAT Premature Emirati twins-1601960378220
The premature Emirati twins at the time of discharge with NICU staff of Emirates Specialty Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic when life seems so fragile, the efforts of a young Emirati couple and a Dubai hospital to save a pair of twins born prematurely in the sixth month of pregnancy comes as a heartwarming tale of triumph of the never-say-die human spirit.

The pair of twin baby boys — AB and JB — was born in the last week of July at 26 weeks at the Emirates Specialty Hosptial at the Dubai Health Care City to an Emirati couple. Weighing just 700gm at birth, they were able to go home after two months with diligent intervention from staff and tender Kangaroo care from their parents in the midst of the pandemic.

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Dr Deina Elshourbagy, specialist Obstetrics and Gyanecologist, told Gulf News that Emirati mother A.A, suffered premature labour pains 15 weeks earlier than the due date and delivered her baby boys at 26 weeks of gestation on July 26.

“The mother was in the sixth month of pregnancy, the second trimester, when she went into labour. She was very apprehensive but we had time to conduct antenatal counselling with the couple and administer antenatal steroid and magnesium sulphate course to protect the babies’ lungs and brain. She was in advance labour, so the babies were delivered via Caesarian section. The babies were born on July 26, weighing only 700 gm at birth,” said Dr Elshourbaghy.

Dr Deina Elshourbagy

Dr Deina Elshourbagy

The challenge

It was a challenge to nurture the premature twins to good health in the succeeding months, but the NICU team under the guidance of Dr Monika Kaushal, consultant neonatologist and paediatrician persevered along with the parents. Dr Kaushal said: “Both babies were born limp and had to be given special resuscitation and with Less Invasive Surfactant administration (LISA) technique to make their lungs mature faster. We followed the best practices for neonatal intensive care. The newborns had feeding intolerance, which meant they had problems in ingestion of enteral feeding. They had infections, apnoea (breathing problems), bradycardia (slow heart rate) but everything was battled well.”

Dr Kaushal added: “We administered parenteral feeding (special nutrition mix giving to premature babies intravenously) within six hours after their birth and enteral feeding (special nutritional fortification given to low birth weight babies to increase bone density) was also introduced from day one. The babies were on mother’s own milk (MOM). All this proved effective,” said Dr Kaushal.

Dr Monika Kaushal

Dr Monika Kaushal

Kangaroo care

One of the most important techniques in nurturing premature babies is Kangaroo care, delivered by parents. This is developmental care that is administered to premature newborns by holding an infant skin-to-skin against the mother or father’s bare chest. This body-to-body warmth provides unique bonding with the parents and helps improve breathing and heart functions in case of premature babies.

Dr Kaushal said the parents came in many times during the day for hours on end to provide Kangaroo care. The round-the-clock medical intervention and due diligence bore results and the newborns were discharged with weights of over 2kg each at the end of September. “The babies were discharged home without a single expected complication after they passed their neurological examination as per their corrected age,” she added.

The delighted father, SNB, thanked the hospital for the care and guidance provided in preserving the health of his first-born kids.