A Sharjah construction worker from Egypt saw his family doubled overnight as his wife gave birth to four baby boys.
The birth of quadruplets, which occurs in just 1 in 700,000 pregnancies, took place on July 6 at NMC Royal Hospital in Sharjah.
The mother, Hiba, 33, was rushed into hospital for an emergency Caesarean section in the 31st week of her pregnancy.
Because multiple births carry a greater risk than single pregnancies a specialist team was assembled at the hospital to ensure the births went as smoothly as possible.
“Quadruplet pregnancy is as rare as 1 in 700,000 cases with 25 per cent risk of spontaneous loss before birth,” said Dr Pooja Agrawal, a neonatologist at the hospital.
“At the time of delivery almost 20 doctors and nurses from multi-specialities were there to help for a smooth transition.
“The babies needed mild respiratory support after birth and two babies had feed intolerance.”
More than 60 per cent of twins and nearly all higher-order multiples are born prematurely, usually before 37 weeks.
The more foetuses the mother is carrying, the greater the chance of an early birth.
Premature babies are born before their bodies and organ systems have completely matured and are often small, with birth weights of less than 2.5 kilograms.
The World Health Organisation estimates that every year 15 million babies are born preterm – before 37 completed weeks of gestation – and this number is rising.
These babies often need help breathing, eating, fighting infection and staying warm, so usually spend longer in hospital than babies born at full term.
“A lady with quadruplet pregnancy delivering in her 31st week of gestation is carrying very high risk,” said Prof Ahmed El Bohoty, a gynaecologist and IVF consultant.
“She had all her antenatal care under my supervision as I was aiming to delay the time of delivery, keeping in mind her and the kids' safety.”
Hiba, who did not want to reveal her family name, gave birth to four healthy boys, weighing between 1.6kg and 2kg.
They have been named Ahmed, Adam, Mohamed and Malek.
The four boys have three older sisters – Habiba, 11, Farah, 6, and Rahma, 4 – who were all born in Egypt before the family moved to the UAE.
Dad Omar thanked the hospital and Prof El Bohoty, who delivered the four babies.
“The overall warmth was amazing and personal. Thanks to Dr Ahmed, Dr Pooja and all the staff.
“We are happy that despite the low birth weights, the babies are doing fine.”