Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Septuplets Born in D.C. Hospital Critical But Doing Well

WebMD Health News

July 13, 2001 (Washington) -- A lucky seven babies beat being born on Friday the 13th by a handful of minutes -- all to the same mother.


"We are not out of the woods,'' Craig Winkel, MD, cautioned. But "it is a great start.''

Weighing little more than two pounds each, America's first septuplets since 1997 lay in critical condition Friday at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C., attended by teams of doctors and nurses watching their every breath and movement.

The five boys and two girls -- known for now as Baby A to Baby G -- were born 12 weeks prematurely to a woman who had taken hormones to treat infertility. Six of the babies were on ventilators to help them breathe. The smallest, a girl, is breathing on her own.

In a press conference Friday at the hospital, Siva Subramanian, MD, head of Georgetown's neonatal unit, said "the babies will remain critical over the next few days, but they have done very well to this point."

The babies weighed between 2.002 and 2.42 pounds each -- a critically low weight that carries high risk -- and each measured 13 to 14 inches long. They were delivered by cesarean section in a three-minute period that began at 11:25 p.m. EDT Thursday.

Winkel said, "The second they were out ... they were out the door and in the [neonatal intensive care unit]. So the mother has not seen the babies yet."

Doctors would not identify the mother, except to say that she is Muslim. Because of her religion, she chose not to abort any fetuses during pregnancy even though that option was offered as a way to improve the chances for the remaining babies to live, doctors said.

"Although the mother hasn't seen her babies in person, we took photographs of the babies and took them over to the mother ... so she could see each one and clutch them to her breast," said nurse Dana Adamson at the press conference. The mother is expected to see the babies later Friday.

The woman went into spontaneous labor at about 8 p.m. Thursday, with medical teams standing by. The delivery was attended by about 25 doctors and nurses, with a similar number ready in the neonatal intensive care room a few steps away.

"It was almost like launching a rocket ship in terms of the teamwork,'' said Dr. Richard Goldberg, hospital vice president.

Subramanian agrees that a lot of preparation was required for the birth -- not just in terms of technology, but in preparing the parents for the awesome responsibility of taking care of seven babies.

The father also attended the delivery, doctors said.

Babies born with similar birth weights have an 85% to 90% chance of survival, Winkel said. However, he said these figures apply to single or twin births and additional risks are associated with septuplets.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd