Respiratory has to do with breathing. Respiratory distress syndrome is a kind of breathing problem that can happen to newborn babies.
Respiratory distress syndrome happens when your baby's lungs are stiff and can't stay open to hold air
It happens when your baby's lungs don't make enough surfactant, a substance that helps the lungs stay open
It happens mostly in premature babies
If your baby's going to be born too early, doctors give you a medicine that helps your baby's lungs make surfactant
After birth, doctors put medicine down your baby's windpipe and give oxygen
Before birth, your baby's lungs are closed. Right after birth, your baby breathes in hard to open the lungs and fill them with air. The inside of the lungs are coated with a substance that makes them easy to open. The substance is called surfactant.
Babies who are born too early (premature babies) don't have enough surfactant. Their lungs are hard to open and the baby can have trouble breathing.
Respiratory distress syndrome usually happens in:
The earlier your baby is born, the more likely it is to get respiratory distress syndrome. Other risk factors include:
Symptoms start right after delivery or within a few hours. Babies have symptoms such as:
If not treated, your baby's breathing will get worse. The lack of oxygen can cause brain damage or other problems.
Doctors suspect respiratory distress syndrome based on your baby's symptoms. To know for sure, they'll:
Check your baby's oxygen level
Do a chest x-ray
Doctors treat respiratory distress syndrome in newborns by:
If you're likely to have a premature baby, doctors will give you a shot of corticosteroids. This medicine helps your baby's lungs make surfactant and helps prevent respiratory distress syndrome.
If your baby is born very early, doctors may give your baby surfactant even before respiratory distress starts.