Most frequent respiratory diseases in newborns

Respiratory diseases in newborns are quite common and they must be evaluated and treated on time to avoid major complications.

The lungs are the last organ that develops in the fetus before birth, that's why they are susceptible to bigger problems. If the baby is born prematurely, it may be that the lungs are not fully developed and are more exposed to the risk factors.

As well There may be genetic factors that cause breathing problems in newborns. Other causative factors can complicated births in which the baby's blood circulation or infections that are contracted after birth are reduced.

In all cases, treatment is key because respiratory diseases can have serious consequences and are one of the leading causes of death in newborns.

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What are the symptoms of respiratory diseases in newborns?

The main symptoms that the doctors try to identify immediately after the birth and in the following days they are the following:

  • Absence of breathing.
  • Superficial respiration
  • Arrhythmic respiration.
  • Snoring when breathing.
  • Excess mucus.
  • Pulmonary retraction

Most frequent respiratory diseases

The types of respiratory diseases that newborns can contract are very varied. The main ones are:


It occurs when the baby stops breathing for lapses that are around 20 seconds. It usually develops when the lungs have not matured sufficiently.

When there is apnea, the baby's pulse may decrease. Bradycardia or low heart rate and a discoloration or bluing of the skin known as cyanosis may occur.

Is common in children born by caesarean section and / or prematurely. This complication usually disappears in less than 24 hours when oxygen is given to the baby.

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The premature babies have a high percentage of chances of developing pneumonia because their lungs are not fully developed.

The meconium, which is the first stool that the baby expels, sometimes, when it is still in the mother's womb, can be sucked by the baby during delivery. This can cause an infection that causes pneumonia.

Respiratory distress syndrome

This condition is also more common in premature babies, especially those born between 36 and 39 weeks of pregnancy.

In this stage of the formation of the baby The surfactant, which is a substance that protects the lungs, has not yet been produced and helps them to inflate air without the cells being pressed. This can cause a lung collapse.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia

This is a complication that is not innate to the baby. It is acquired for the treatments provided when the baby is premature. Administering oxygen to the baby, although necessary to save your life, can damage your delicate lungs. If this happens, the baby may have difficulty breathing.


It occurs when, at birth, air remains between the lung and the chest, causing pressure in the newborn When this condition occurs, the baby has bluish skin and problems breathing, so it should be treated immediately by introducing a catheter that helps remove air that is trapped.

Other respiratory diseases

There are other pulmonary or respiratory complications less common but equally serious:

  • Congenital bronchiectasis: it is an inflammation of the respiratory tract caused by an infection.
  • Pulmonary hypoplasia: it is a congenital anomaly characterized by the arrest of lung development.
  • Congenital pneumonia: it is an inflammation of the lung tissue not caused by infections.

Can the baby's respiratory illnesses be prevented?

Respiratory diseases are difficult to predict and prevent. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the following tips during pregnancy:

  • Comply with all medical check-ups recommended by the doctor.
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • No Smoking.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Do not use drugs

In any case, maintain a pregnancy in healthy conditions It helps prevent premature labor and decreases the risk that the lungs are not fully developed.