Why premature babies have trouble breathing | Blog By Dr. Sorabh Goel, Paras Bliss, Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh

Why do Premature Babies Have Trouble Breathing?

Why do Premature Babies Have Trouble Breathing?

by: Dr. Sorabh Goel
Consultant - Neonatology-Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Preterm babies are the babies which are born earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm babies encounter a high risk of complications after the delivery.

Typically a pregnancy is for about 40 weeks and the baby arriving after 37 weeks is considered full term. Preterm babies have difficulty in digesting and breathing immediately after the birth. In some cases, preterm babies often face long-term problems like impaired hearing, vision, cognitive skills and behavioral problems.

In preterm babies, chronic lung diseases occur due to the problem in baby’s lungs and are most common in the premature babies who are born before 26 weeks of the gestational periods and also weigh less than 1000 gms. The lungs of premature babies are not fully developed.

Breathing abnormalities start from the 2nd day of life and last for up to 2 to 3 months after the birth of a baby. Preterm infants and smaller babies are most likely to have Apnea of Prematurity. It is a condition in which the preterm infant stops breathing for 15 to 20 seconds during the sleep.

The lungs of full terms babies are fully developed but sometimes they also encounter breathing problem which occurs due to complicated delivery and labor, infections and birth defects. A baby who is born with the breathing problem is given medicines, a mechanical ventilator is used to help him or her breadth or combination these two is used to treat the baby with a breathing problem.

The major concern in a preterm baby is the new born’s lungs. Typically by 36 weeks, the lungs of the baby are considered to be mature. But there are chances that in few babies the chances for fully developed and mature lungs are less. If mother gets to know that the baby will be coming before the expected time then mother needs steroid injection before the delivery, as steroid injection helps to speed the lung development of the baby.

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