World's smallest babies

PHOTO: World's smallest babies

Earlier last month, the third-smallest baby ever to survive left hospital in Los Angeles after spending nearly five months in neonatal intensive care unit.

Melinda Star Guido was born last August, 16 weeks early, weighing only 270 grammes - less than a can of soda or the same as two iPhones.

She was so tiny when she was born, at 24 weeks, that she could fit in the palm of her mother's hand.

Most babies her size don’t survive, doctors say. However, Melinda is now 4 1/2 pounds (2.4kg), and doctors call her a "miracle baby".

According to Global Birth Registry figures cited by LA County health officials, her weight makes her the third smallest baby ever to survive.

The Daily Mail reported that Melinda's fate is still uncertain, as It's too early to know how she will fare developmentally and physically.

Doctors plan to monitor her for the next six years, the paper reported.

While Melinda has undergone treatment for an eye disorder that's common in premature babies and had surgery to close an artery, doctors say she is lucky that she did not suffer serious complications such as bleeding in the brain.

Doctors originally thought she wouldn't make it. However, Melinda's mother, Haydee Ibarra, held her for the first time after the operation in November.

There are high mortality rates for premature babies, and even for those who survive, most remain short and underweight for their age.

However, there have been a few rare exceptions.

The smallest surviving baby born is now a healthy seven year old.

Meet the other smallest babies from around the world. Some were born as early as 1989 and weighed as little as 244 grammes.

Click through the photos below to meet these little survivors: