Born at just 1.1lbs, Pixie Griffiths-Grant stayed in her mother’s womb for only 28 weeks, that’s seven months. She was delivered via emergency c-section to her mother Sharon Grant and was no bigger than her hand.
Minutes after her birth, Pixie was weighing less than a pound. Rushing her to the intensive care unit, doctors wrapped her in a plastic sandwich bag top keep her warm during the transfer. The sandwich bag came from Tesco, a grocery store in the U.K.
“It was amazing that she survived, but it was truly traumatic,” Grant told Mirror.co.uk. Grant says that the sandwich bag that kept her daughter’s temperature up might have just saved her fragile life. Now at 5 months old, Pixie was allowed to be taken home for the first time. She’s still going back and forth from her home to the hospital but “at the moment she’s doing really well,” adds Grant.
According to the New York Times, wrapping premature babies in plastic isn’t odd or unfamiliar. In the United States, premature babies are wrapped in sterile plastic wrap. In poorer countries like Zambia, these are replaced with simple plastic bags.
Babies lose bodily heat fast which makes them more prone to getting diseases, and for premature babies the dangers of being too cold could mean death. Warmth is a crucial part of keeping a premature baby alive, and in this case, the sandwich bag held the key.
A premature baby’s chances of surviving can be significantly increased by making sure they get the proper care. “This means keeping them warm, clean, and well-fed, and ensuring that babies who have difficulty breathing get immediate attention,” said Elizabeth Mason, director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in 2012.
In the Philippines, WHO has continuously pushed the “Unang Yakap” (First Embrace) campaign for which highlights the importance of skin-to-skin contact of mother and child immediately after birth. This simple act transfers warmth, placental blood and protective bacteria, and promotes exclusive breastfeeding.
Sources: Oct. 23, 2015. "1-Pound preemie kept alive thanks to sandwich bag (PHOTO)". sheknows.com Oct. 21, 2015. "Newborn baby weighing just 1.1lbs kept alive in Tesco sandwich bag by doctors to keep her warm". mirror.co.uk June 3, 2015. "Plastic Bags to Keep Premature Babies Warm". nytimes.com