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"Premature birth" was cited as the reason for the death of the three-day-old infant, born to a 13-year-old rape survivor, who breathed his last on Sunday morning in the neonatal centre of JJ Hospital.

The 1.8 kg premature infant was born after a cesarean section was carried out after the Supreme Court consented to it.

A forensic surgeon who conducted the autopsy on the baby said, "The baby was in gestation for over seven months and had already developed features such as eyebrows, scalp and hair, and even fingernails. Had it been in the womb for few more weeks, the outcome would have been different."

Also read: SC to hear 13-year-old rape survivor's plea for abortion today

The doctor added, "There were no deformities in the baby. As he was premature, the organs were not fully grown. We have preserved the organs and tissues, which ha been sent for histopathology testing, to rule out any ailment."

When asked if the infant had any congenital defect, the doctor replied in the negative.

Senior gynaecologist, Dr Ashok Anand, under whose care the mother is recuperating, said, "She (the mother) is doing well, we understand that she may be going through lot of psychological trauma, and hence we will seek counseling for her and her parents. We are likely to discharge her in the next few days."

Amendment bill pending
Dr Yogesh Nandanwar, former professor and Head of the Department (Gynaecology) LTMG Hospital said, "An amendment bill to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 has been pending approval for the past few years. It will allow women whose pregnancies are within 24 weeks, in consultation with their gynaecologist, to decide on continuing the pregnancy or to go for abortion in case the foetus has a deformity.

Dr T P Lahane, dean at Grant Medical College was unavailable for comment.

Also read: Supreme Court allows 13-year-old rape victim's to undergo abortion

Child psychologist says
Dr Aarti Rajratnam, a child psychologist, said, "The survivor will require a supportive environment to keep moving in her life, as the extent of pain and trauma that she has gone through — first due to rape, second by becoming pregnant, and thirdly, by losing the infant —will have a long lasting impact on her physiologically and physically. We refer to this as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and this cannot be merely handled with counseling, but will require support from family and society."

"We must remember that the Amygdala (emotional part of the brain) is larger in teenagers than in grown-ups, so the teens have difficulties with emotional regulations," added Dr Rajratnam.

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