When a newborn has respiratory problems, it means that the baby is having trouble breathing. If your baby was born early, the lungs may not be not strong enough to do the work they are supposed to do. Or a breathing problem might be caused by an infection, such as pneumonia. Or your baby may just need a little extra time getting used to life outside the uterus.
The doctor and nurses will do tests and watch your baby closely to find the cause of the problem.
Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.
Your baby may get oxygen to help with breathing. It is given to the baby through a tube in the nose or throat.
The doctor may use a ventilator. This machine helps your baby breathe. To use the machine, the doctor puts a soft tube through your baby's mouth into the windpipe.
Often the best treatment is time. Your baby's breathing problems may go away within hours as the lungs begin to work as they should.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: July 26, 2016
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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