Nine babies born to Malian woman now breathing without assistance

Nine babies born to one Malian woman are now breathing without assistance with their weight ‘significantly’ increased – but they will stay under observation for two more months

  • Moroccan clinic where the infants were delivered gave an update on Wednesday
  • It said they were being tube-fed and were now breathing without assistance
  • The babies were born to Malian woman Halima Cissee, 25, on May 4 this year
  • Nonuplets are extremely rare and medical complications are common when it comes to multiple births

Nine babies born to a Malian woman are now breathing without assistance, but will remain under observation for up to two more months. 

The Moroccan clinic where the infants were delivered last month, and are being treated, also said on Wednesday that their weight had ‘significantly’ increased.   

Abdelkoddous Hafsi, spokesman for Ain Borja clinic in the city of Casablanca, said the nonuplets had ‘crossed the stage of respiratory distress’.

They are being tube-fed and their weight has ‘significantly’ increased, to between 800 grammes and 1.4 kilogrammes (1.7 and three pounds), he told AFP news agency.

The mother, 25-year-old Halima Cisse from Timbuktu in northern Mali, is staying near her five baby girls and four boys.

She is out of intensive care after almost dying from blood loss during delivery. 

The strain of carrying the weight of the babies and amniotic fluid, estimated at 40kg, more than six stone, triggered a haemorrhage Cisse’s uterine artery during the caesarean section, 30 weeks into her pregnancy. 

Nine babies born to a Malian woman are now breathing without assistance, but will remain under observation for up to two more months

The Moroccan clinic where the infants were delivered last month, and are being treated, also said on Wednesday that their weight had ‘significantly’ increased

Abdelkoddous Hafsi, spokesman for Ain Borja clinic in the city of Casablanca, said the nonuplets had ‘crossed the stage of respiratory distress’

The infants still need ‘another month and a half or even two months to be able to face life’ without the clinic’s assistance, said Hafsi.

A medical team of 10 doctors assisted by 25 paramedics was mobilised for the multiple births by caesarian section on May 4.

Mali’s government flew Cisse to Morocco for better care on March 30. She was initially believed, after ultrasounds, to have been carrying septuplets.

Two of the baby boys, Mohamed and Bah, carry the names of the president of Mali and king of Morocco in gratitude to the help the two countries’ authorities have given towards the safe delivery of the babies.

The infants still need ‘another month and a half or even two months to be able to face life’ without the clinic’s assistance, said Hafsi

A medical team of 10 doctors assisted by 25 paramedics was mobilised for the multiple births by caesarian section on May 4

The names for the five girls are Hawa, Adama, Fatouma, Oumou and Kadidia. The two other boys are called Elhadji and Oumar.

The couple, Cisse and her husband Kader Arby, 35, also have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

The pregnancy drew national attention in Mali, as organisations worked to ensure that Cisse and her expected babies received the necessary medical care.

On April 15, 2021 it was announced that the Orange Mali Foundation would donate five million CFA Francs (around £6,580) to the cause, after the country’s Department for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family appealed for aid. 

Mother Halima Cisse, 25, is pictured with her husband Kader Arby, 35. The couple from Timbuktu also have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter together

Cisse’s nonuplets are the third-ever recorded case of the extremely rare phenomenon, with previous mothers in Australia and Malaysia sadly losing their babies not long after giving birth

The pregnancy drew national attention in Mali, as organisations worked to ensure that Cisse and her expected babies received the necessary medical care

Cases of women successfully carrying septuplets to term are rare – and nonuplets even rarer.

Cisse’s nonuplets are the third-ever recorded case of the extremely rare phenomenon, with previous mothers in Australia and Malaysia sadly losing their babies not long after giving birth. 

The verified world record for the most living births is eight, born to an American woman, Nadya Suleman, nicknamed Octomum, in 2009 when she was 33.  

HOW CAN A WOMAN GIVE BIRTH TO NINE BABIES? 

There is theoretically no limit for how many babies a pregnant woman can carry in her womb at once, scientists say.

But the chances of high-order multiple gestation — carrying four or more babies — happening naturally is extremely rare. 

Just five sets of quadruplets are born each year in the UK — meaning it occurs in only around one in every 150,000 pregnancies. 

Such births typically occur via IVF, when multiple fertilised eggs are implanted into a woman’s womb to increase her chances of becoming pregnant.

There are just two recorded cases of nonuplets in medical history, the first of which occurred in Australia in the 1970s.

None of the babies survived, and it is unclear whether any was born alive.

The second case occurred in March 1999 when a set of nonuplets was born to in Malaysia to mother Zurina Mat Saad.

While some of the infants survived the birth, none lived for more than six hours afterwards. 

The largest set of babies to be born in one go and to survive past infancy is eight – born to ‘Octomum’ Natalie Suleman in California in 2009.

Ms Suleman, who already had six children through IVF, had 12 embryos leftover. Her doctor implanted all of them inside her womb at once.

Her case sparked a fierce debate over IVF regulation, with the fertility specialist who carried out the procedure stripped of his medical licence. 

When women are carrying more than one baby at once, the risk of the pregnancy going wrong is higher, and this generally increases the more babies there are.

The woman is more likely to develop anaemia, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes if she is pregnant with two or more babies.

Multiple-baby pregnancies are also more likely to result in premature births, with over 60 per cent of twins and almost all births of triplets or more taking place before the 37 weeks is completed, according to Beaumont Health, a healthcare provider in Michigan, US.

This may be because of the complications above, which are both more likely in multiple pregnancies and also raise the risk of premature birth. It can also be triggered by problems with the placenta(s), which are more likely to face difficulties and may lead to slow growth.

The fact that multiple-baby pregnancies are more likely to end prematurely means that the children at a higher risk of problems after birth.

Premature babies are often under-developed and may need hospital care to keep them safe as their hearts and lungs finish growing.

They are at a higher risk of various serious health conditions including cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, vision or hearing problems, behavioural issues or asthma or infections, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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