Curtis Zy-Keith Means is the most premature baby born at 21 weeks and 1 day

Curtis, or 'Poodie' as his family also call him, celebrated his first birthday on July 5, 2021.

The world’s most premature baby was born in June 2020. But exactly a month later, on July 5, 2020, Curtis Zy-Keith Means from Alabama, USA, was born and went on to break the record. Born at 21 weeks and a day, weighing as much as a soccer ball, Curtis has been certified as the world’s most premature baby to survive by the Guinness Book of World Records.

He was delivered exactly one month after the previous record holder, Richard Hutchinson from Wisconsin who was born at a gestational age of 21 weeks 2 days, or 131 days premature on June 5, 2020.

The baby weighs 420 g (14.8 oz). As per the records site, initially, Michelle “Chelly” Butler’s pregnancy seemed to be progressing well and on track to go to full term. But on July 4, 2020, she had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

While a full-term pregnancy lasts usually 40 weeks, Curtis is nearly 19 weeks premature. The child’s original due date was November 11, 2021.

“The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age,” Chelly told Guinness World Records in an exclusive interview. “It was very stressful.”

While the triumph of the baby, who has been responding to treatment well, has brought joy, it is tempered with heartache because Curtis was one of the twins.

As per the site, also delivered at 21 weeks 1 day was his sister – C’Asya Means – who was less developed and did not respond to the treatment in the way her brother did. Tragically, she passed away just a day after birth.

For the vast majority of preterm babies born this early on, the chances of a long-term future are vanishingly slim. This is what makes Curtis’ recovery all the more exceptional, noted the site in wake of Prematurity Awareness Month.



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His discharge from the hospital was only made possible with a tailored course of medication and special equipment such as bottled oxygen and a feeding tube, but it was nevertheless a major milestone on his extraordinary journey, said the doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which is heralded for having one of the leading neonatology and paediatric departments in the country.

Curtis, or ‘Poodie’ as his family also call him, celebrated his first birthday on July 5, 2021. At this point, he qualified as the most premature baby to survive, as per the website.

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