A Canadian brother and sister born at 22 weeks have been named by Guinness as the world’s most premature twins.
Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah were born at 126 days, overtaking the previous record of 125 days early set in 2018 by twins in the US state of Iowa.
If the children had been born even one hour earlier than 22 weeks, life-saving measured would not have been attempted by the hospital, Guinness says.
A full-term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks, making them 18 weeks premature.
Mum Shakina Rajendram said that when she began labour at just 21 weeks and five days, doctors told her that the babies “were not viable” and had “0% chance of survival”.
It was her second pregnancy, after she lost her first just a few months earlier in the same hospital near their home in Ontario.
Father Kevin Nadarajah said that the hospital told them they would be unable to help with such an early pregnancy, leaving him awake at night praying with a “face streaming with tears”.
Most hospitals do not attempt to save children born before 24 to 26 weeks. But luckily, the couple were able to move to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, which has a specialist neonatal intensive care unit.
On Mrs Rajendram’s second day of labour – 21 weeks and six days into the pregnancy – she was told that if the children were born even a few minutes before 22 weeks, they would be left to die.
Despite heavy bleeding, she said she tried her best to “hold the babies in” for a few more hours.
Her water eventually broke 15 minutes after midnight. Less than two hours after entering 22 weeks in the womb, the children were born. Adiah and Adrial have now lived to be one year old, despite serious medical issues early on.
“We watched the babies almost die before our eyes many times,” Mrs Rajendram said. While they are still being closely followed by doctors, the siblings are “doing great”.
The most premature baby ever born was Curtis Means of Alabama, who was born at 21 weeks and one day.