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Learning About Transient Tachypnea in Newborns (TTN)

What is transient tachypnea?

Some babies, after birth, breathe faster and harder than expected. This may happen because of TTN, or transient tachypnea (say "tack-IP-nee-uh") in newborns. It's also called "wet lung." TTN is more common in babies delivered by C-section than in babies born by vaginal childbirth.

TTN usually clears up after a few days in the hospital. There is no lasting effect on the baby's growth or development.

What happens when your baby has transient tachypnea?

Before birth, a baby's growing lungs are filled with fluid. During labour, the baby's lungs start to clear the fluid out to get ready for that first breath of air.

When a newborn has TTN, it means the baby's lungs weren't able to completely empty the fluid before birth. The baby has to work harder to get the air he or she needs.

What are the symptoms?

You or your doctor may notice the symptoms of TTN shortly after your baby's birth:

  • Flaring nostrils when breathing in.
  • Making a grunting sound when breathing.
  • The baby's skin may be slightly blue around the nose and mouth.

How is transient tachypnea treated?

  • Your doctor will take an X-ray of your baby's chest to make sure that your baby doesn't have a problem with the heart or lungs.
  • Your baby may be given an antibiotic until your doctor is sure that your baby doesn't have an infection.
  • Your baby may not be able to feed easily at first, so your baby may get fluids through a tube in a vein (intravenously, or I.V.).
  • Your doctor will watch your baby and may give them a little extra oxygen to help make breathing easier.

Your baby's lungs should clear up within a few days. Then you can bring your baby home.

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