Photo/IllutrationRyusuke Sekino, the world’s smallest baby at birth among those who have survived in good health, is seen in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture, on Oct. 9. (Provide by Nagano Children’s Hospital)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

AZUMINO, Nagano Prefecture--A premature baby who is the world's smallest boy at birth to have survived is expected to head home on April 20 after more than six months of intensive care.

Ryusuke Sekino weighed just 258 grams at birth in October, the Nagano Children's Hospital announced on April 19.

Ryusuke, who was born at the hospital here on Oct. 1, 2018, now weighs 3,374 grams thanks to nutrition tube and other feeding methods.

Ryusuke’s mother, Toshiko, who lives in Karuizawa, also in Nagano Prefecture, was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 29 after suffering from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

She delivered the boy via an emergency caesarean section two days after being hospitalized, at 24 weeks and five days of pregnancy.

The tiny baby measured 22 centimeters in height and his chest circumference was 14.3 cm at delivery.

He had been nurtured in a neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital where temperature and humidity were completely controlled. The tiny infant was somehow able to get his mouth around a cotton swab tip soaked in breast milk or took in nutrition via a stomach tube.

Thanks to the careful care and efforts, Ryusuke has grown and is ready to go home.

The previous record of the world’s smallest baby at birth is a boy who was 268 grams when he was born at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward in August 2018, according to the University of Iowa database in the United States.

The infant was sent home on Feb. 20, making him at that time the world’s lightest-ever newborn boy to be discharged in good health.

(This article was written by Takumi Ono and Yasushi Sato)