Common breathing issues for premature babies

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, explains the most common breathing issues faced by premature babies, the causes of these issues, and how they are treated
Premature Baby Risks - Common Breathing Issues
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Common breathing issues for premature babies

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Your doctor may talk to you about distinct respiratory issues that babies and especially premature infants can have. Very premature infants often have lungs that are not fully developed and will require often significant amount of support. sometimes the support is in the amount of oxygen that will be placed in the little tube in his nose. But sometimes the baby's lungs are not developed at all and will need a little tube to be placed in your baby's airway where your doctor will provide some special medication and help your baby breathe will respiratory machine until such a time that your baby can breathe on his own and the tube can be removed. The brain of your baby may also be immature and the respiratory centers in the brain may not be sending signals or sustained. Therefore premature infants are often unable to breathe all the time. And that is one of the main reasons why your baby needs to be monitored, why his oxygen and his breathing pattern needs to be monitored. At times your doctor may use a medication to use help your baby's brain be more alert and remember to breathe, so to speak. In time, your baby will mature. Some of the most premature infants may have breathing issues that extend into their young life, but for the most part the good news is that irregardless of the level of prematurity, your baby's lung will grow extensively in the first 5 years of their life. So even if your baby has some breathing problems that are persistent in the first few months of life, usually those problems get better in the first few years of life, and very few babies remain with significant pulmonary issues as they get older.

Neonatologist Philippe Friedlich, MD, explains the most common breathing issues faced by premature babies, the causes of these issues, and how they are treated

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Philippe Friedlich, MD

Neonatologist

Philippe Friedlich, MD, MS Epi, MBA is the Associate Director and Division Chief of the Center for Fetal and Neonatal Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as the Medical Director of the hospital’s Newborn & Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU). Dr. Friedlich is a professor of Pediatrics and Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.   

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