Famous Preemies

Celebrities Born Premature and Celebrities With Premature Babies

Singer Stevie Wonder performs onstage at the City Of Hope Spirit Of Life Gala Honoring Rob Light on September 19, 2013 in Playa Vista, California.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

About 10 to 12% of US children are born premature, even in Hollywood. Many famous people were either premature at birth or had children who were born early. Test your knowledge - how many of these famous preemies did you know about?

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was born at 34 weeks gestation in 1950. A child prodigy and hugely successful musician, Wonder has won 22 Grammy awards and has had over 30 top 10 hits.

Stevie Wonder is blind due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a complication of prematurity caused by underdeveloped blood vessels on a premature baby's retinas.

Tiki and Ronde Barber

Football players Tiki and Ronde Barber were late preterm babies born 5 weeks early in 1975. Both played college football at the University of Virginia, then went their separate ways in the 1997 NFL draft. Ronde is a cornerback/safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tiki is a running back and a free agent.

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen and third wife Brooke Mueller Sheen had premature twin boys, Bob and Max. The boys were born in 2009 at 33 weeks gestation, after Mueller's pregnancy was complicated by preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Although Max had a heart condition caused by prematurity, both boys are doing well and were home from the hospital after 3 weeks.

Nancy Grace

CNN anchorwoman and television personality Nancy Grace had twins Lucy Grace and John David over 2 months early on November 4, 2007.

The twins were born via emergency c-section after Nancy developed pulmonary edema. John David came home after just 3 weeks, but Lucy Grace had to spend 6 weeks in the NICU.

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw

Country music superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw had their youngest daughter, Audrey, at just 32 weeks gestation in December of 2001.

At a routine obstetrical appointment, Faith's doctor discovered that her amniotic fluid was dangerously low and Audrey would have to be delivered immediately. Audrey was only 3 lbs 11 oz at birth but is now a healthy 11-year-old.

Melissa Gilbert

Actress Melissa Gilbert had her second child, Michael Garrett, at 28 weeks after her water broke prematurely. Although he was very early, Michael had an uneventful NICU course. He was mechanically ventilated for a day but had no intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) or other serious complications of prematurity. He spent 40 days in the NICU and came home on November 15, 1995.

Sherri Shepherd

Actress and The View co-host Sherri Shepherd had her son Jeffrey at just 25 weeks gestation in April of 2005. Jeffrey weighed 1 lb, 10 at birth and was in the NICU for 3 months. Due to his extreme prematurity, Jeffrey had an IVH and a patent ductus arterioles (PDA). Jeffrey works with physical, speech, and occupational therapists to help overcome developmental delays caused by his early birth.

Prior to the invention of artificial lung surfactant, most premature babies died soon after birth. Still, a number of famous figures in history were born prematurely and went on to do great things.

Sir Issac Newton

One of the world's most famous and influential scientists, Sir Issac Newton was born December 25, 1642. He weighed just 3 pounds at birth, and was not expected to live beyond a few hours. Not only did he survive, but he went on to describe the laws of gravity and motion.

Sir Winston Churchill

Although he wasn't due to be born until January of the following year, Sir Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874. Although he was born early, Churchill went on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a gifted military leader, and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Mark Twain

American novelist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born 2 months early in November of 1835. He weighed just 5 lb at birth. His novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been called "the Great American Novel."

Anna Pavlova

Born prematurely in 1885, Anna Pavlova became one of the world's most famous ballerinas. Her small size and frail appearance, likely a result of her premature birth, set her apart from other ballerinas of the time.

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy

The youngest child of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born 5 1/2 weeks early on August 7, 1963. He lived just 2 days before dying from respiratory distress syndrome. His death, which came before the invention of surfactant therapy, sparked interest in the treatment of premature babies. Carrying multiples, whether twins, triplets, or more, is a common risk factor for prematurity. The more babies you're carrying, the earlier you can be expected to deliver. Because quadruplets and other higher order multiples are rare, the birth of 4 or more babies usually creates quite a stir! Here is a list of some of the more famous sets of multiples.

The Mathias Quadruplets

Identical twins are rare, but identical quadruplets are a 1 in 15 million occurrence. The adorable, identical Mathias quadruplets stole American hearts in 2001 on America's Funniest Home Videos in a video that shows the girls all laughing together as their dad films them. The "laughing quadruplets" were born on February 16, 2000 at 28 weeks gestation and are now 12 years old.

The Dilley Sextuplets

The world's first set of surviving sextuplets, the Dilley sextuplets were conceived with the help of fertility medications and born on May 25, 1993. During the pregnancy only 5 babies were seen on ultrasound, and the sixth baby was a delivery room surprise. All six children are good students and graduated from high school with honors.

The Gosselin Sextuplets

The Gosselin Sextuplets, made famous on television's Jon & Kate Plus 8, were born at 30 weeks gestation on May 10, 2004. The six babies required mechanical ventilation at birth, but were home with their family by about 2 months of age. Now 8 years old, the sextuplets are a lively and spirited bunch.

The McCaughey Septuplets

Born on November 19, 1997, the McCaughey septuplets were the world's first septuplets to survive infancy. The seven babies were conceived with the help of fertility medications and were born at 31 weeks gestation. Two of the children, Alexis and Nathan, have cerebral palsy as a result of their premature birth. The septuplets, now 15 years old, are fast approaching drivers' licenses and college tuitions, but the parents report that they've been promised scholarships to 3 different colleges.

The Suleman Octuplets

Born on January 26, 2009, the Suleman octuplets remains the only surviving set of octuplets. The 8 babies were conceived with the help of IVH and were born weighing between 1 lb 8 oz and 3 lb 1 oz. The birth caused controversy because 12 embryos were transferred during the IVF procedure, although the norm for a healthy woman Suleman's age is 2 embryos. The physician who transferred the embryos, Dr. Michael Kamrava, was investigated and eventually his license to practice medicine was revoked.

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