Tot born just three days before UK's legal abortion limit defies odds to survive

Tot born just three days before UK's legal abortion limit defies odds to survive

An extremely premature baby — born three days before the UK's legal abortion limit — was saved by her mother's cuddles.

Elsie Dutton was delivered after 23 weeks and four days, weighing 1lb 2oz — slightly more than a tin of baked beans. 

Doctors feared Elsie, whose twin, Dotty, died in the womb, would not survive and whisked her off to an incubator. 

But she has now 'defied all the odds' and escaped her ordeal with 'no issues', which medics claim is all down to her mother Amy's 'kangaroo care'.

Mrs Dutton, of Barnsley, wasn't allowed to hold Elsie whilst her daughter was fighting for her life on an incubator.

After a month, she was deemed healthy enough to leave the machine — but it was still another four months until she was well enough to leave hospital entirely.

Mrs Dutton, 33, said: 'Having to wait so long to hold her was really difficult, so when I finally did it meant so much.

'It’s crazy to think that me cuddling her was having such an impact, it saved her life.'

Describing her experience as 'amazing', she added: 'I would hold her and I could see on all the monitors that her heart rate was relaxing. It felt so special.

'It’s something that was good for me and for her because it helps bring my stress down being able to hold her.

'I held her for about 30 seconds when she [was] born and then she went straight in the incubator for one month.'

Mrs Dutton — who repeated the process daily for four months — claimed she was only able to hold Elsie for a 'few hours every day'.

Known as kangaroo care, cuddles with parents have been proven to help premature babies survive.

Studies have shown regular skin-to-skin contact between babies and adults helps stabilise babies heart rates, improve their breathing and weight gain, helping them grow stronger. 

Now back home with the family, Elsie is now getting cuddles from her father Scott and seven-year-old brother Charlie as well. 

Mrs Dutton, a bridal stylist, said bringing Elsie home was 'amazing'.  

'I almost didn't think it was real, the day felt like a dream come true,' she said. 

'I've never felt such a relief as when we got to walk out of the hospital and take her home.

'It's so surreal to hold your baby and think about how you could have lost her, and having her home after all that uncertainty was just bliss.'