A complete long-term pregnancy remains for 40 weeks. It gives time to the fetus for growth. The organs develop entirely at 40 weeks. If your baby is born from premature delivery, his or her lungs may not perform proper functions.
We all know that healthy lungs are more important for general health. Neonatal RDS or neonatal respiratory distress syndrome refers to the condition in which lungs are not developed completely. Premature babies may suffer from this condition.
Infants who have neonatal RDS experience problems with breathing. It is also called hyaline membrane disease. You may also hear the term infant respiratory distress syndrome for this disease.
Causes Of Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Surfactant refers to a substance that makes your lungs able to contract and expand. It keeps your alveoli open. These are little air sacs present in your lungs. Premature infants may lack the substance surfactant. It causes issues of lungs and breathing and in infants.
Some developmental issues that are associated with genetics are also involved in causing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
Risk Factors For Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
The development of the lungs and their function occurs in utero. The risk of RDS is greater if your infant is born earlier. Specifically, infants born at twenty-eight weeks gestation are vulnerable to develop RDS. Following are some other risk factors that may contribute to RDS.
- Multiple pregnancies (triplets or twins)
- Having a sibling with the problem of RDS
- Impaired flow of blood during the process of a delivery toward the baby
- Maternal diabetes
- Cesarean delivery
The signs of RDS appear in infants in a short time duration after birth. Sometimes symptoms can appear even after 24 hours of your infant’s birth. Following are the symptoms of RDS.
- Decreased urine output
- Bluish tints in the area of your skin
- Nostril flares
- Rapid breathing
- Grunting during the breathing
If a doctor of your baby suspects RDS, he will recommend lab tests for the infant to detect the infections that can lead to breathing problems. They will also recommend chest X-rays to examine the condition of the lungs.
A blood analysis can be used to check the levels of oxygen in the blood. If your baby has any of the symptoms given above, immediately contact a health care professional to detect RDS earlier to plan better treatment for him.
Symptoms are usually apparent if your child has RDS. The infant will be admitted for further examination and treatment to a neonatal intensive care unit. Following are three main treatments that doctors can recommend for your child.
- Surfactant Replacement Therapy
- Oxygen Therapy
- A nasal continuous positive airway pressure machine or ventilator
Surfactant replacement therapy provides surfactant to your child that they don’t have. Treatment is done using a breathing tube. After getting surfactant, the infant will be connected to a ventilator. It gives breathing support to infants.
They may require such a procedure many times. It depends on the severity of the disease. The infant may get the treatment through a ventilator alone to receive breathing support. A tube is placed down into the area of the windpipe in the ventilator connection.
The ventilator starts breathing for the infant. In nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP), doctors administer oxygen through your infant’s nostrils using a small mask. Oxygen therapy is used to deliver oxygen into the organs of your infant through the lungs.
CPAP or ventilator is used to administer oxygen. Doctors can give oxygen to infants without a nasal CPAP or ventilator in case of a mild form of the disease.
It prevents the deliveries that are premature and decreases the vulnerability of infants to get RDS. Get prenatal care properly throughout your pregnancy to reduce the chances of premature delivery. Do not smoke and avoid illicit drugs. Alcohol use is harmful during pregnancy.
The mother may get corticosteroids if there are chances of premature delivery. These drugs enhance the development of lungs and surfactant production. The lungs need to perform proper functions.
If your child is getting issues with breathing after premature delivery, take him to the doctor as soon as possible. Never ignore the condition of your child if he is born after a premature delivery. Early treatment helps to avoid fatal complications and the risks of developing RDS.