According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born before 37 weeks gestation every year
In the U.S., premature births now occur in one out of every 10 infants born, reported by the March of Dimes after the non-profit discovered a steady increase in preterm births over the last two years.
Once thought of as having an extremely low mortality rate, the truth is that the survival rate of infants born at 22 to 24 weeks gestation has also increased from 30-percent in 2000 to 36-percent in 2011.
So the fact that Courtney Stensrud’s premature baby turning three wouldn’t be such a headline, but there’s one caveat: Her daughter wasn’t born at 24 weeks or even 22 weeks.
Courtney’s daughter was born at only 21 weeks, four days gestation, making her the most premature baby ever born.
However, it wasn’t easy to reach the three-year milestone.
Just after Courtney gave birth, a neonatologist at the hospital told her that her 15-ounce daughter had an extremely low chance of survival and even initially counseled against resuscitating the baby.