A 29-year-old pregnant woman who was infected with COVID-19 gave birth on Wednesday to healthy triplets at a hospital in Ruili, Yunnan province, according to the provincial Health Commission.
It is the first time in China that a COVID-19 patient successfully gave birth to triplets, the commission said.
The three baby boys, weighing 1.62, 1.58 and 1.59 kilograms, tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
On July 9, a woman from Ruili's town of Wanding surnamed Zi was sent to Ruili Dai Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, a designated hospital for COVID-19 patients.
A team of 32 obstetric, respiratory and neonatology medical workers from the province, Ruili and the Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture, which administers Ruili, arrived at the hospital on July 11 to treat the woman and try to prevent a premature birth.
"The team and medical supplies were transported to the hospital," said team member Chen Zhuo, associate chief physician in the obstetrics department of the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University.
"We made a treatment plan after evaluating Zi's respiratory circulation and made a plan and process of operations to prevent premature delivery and to monitor intrauterine fetal safety."
Chen said that because the team came from several hospitals, they practiced together ahead of time to deal with several possible neonatal emergencies.
Zi's condition improved somewhat through the intensive care she received from the nursing staff.
"A team of nurses cared for her and kept her under 24-hour medical observation," said Xu Yan, head nurse of the obstetrics department of Mangshi People's Hospital. "We specially made recipes for foods based on her preferences that would improve her nutrition, and we provided psychological care to boost her confidence in overcoming the disease."
Early Wednesday morning, Zi had a serious liver complication that sometimes occurs during pregnancy, and the team decided to deliver the babies immediately by Cesarean section.
"The operation was successful, and the babies have been moved to quarantine wards," Chen said. "The babies and their mother are in stable condition now."
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, many pregnant women infected with the novel coronavirus have given birth to healthy babies in hospitals across the country.
On Jan 30, 2020, a woman who was 38 weeks pregnant and infected with the novel coronavirus gave birth to a healthy baby girl in a hospital in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.
The baby weighed 3.05 kilograms and was given a perfect 10 Apgar score at birth, meaning she was at low risk of neonatal death. The girl tested negative for COVID-19 and was discharged from the hospital on Feb 4. Six days later, her mother recovered and was also discharged.