Breathing problems in babies can give sleepless nights to the baby and parents alike. Read on to know more.
Breathing problems in infants are common within the first few weeks after childbirth. There are several reasons for this condition and all of them may not have serious implications. Although, most breathing problems are associated with lung function, there are many other reasons, which can give your baby a tough time while breathing. Most breathing problems in newborns subside by the time the child reaches 3 years of age.
Breathing difficulties in newborns are a result of dysfunction of some organs such as brain, heart, lungs etc. It is either due to under-development of the concerned organ or it may be a result of some trauma.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness, which affects about 1 in every 10 children in America. This disorder is more prevalent in developed countries. However, it is very difficult to treat asthma in infants, because true symptoms of asthma surface only after 3 years of age. Although, wheezing is an important symptom of asthma, your child may not necessarily have asthma if she wheezes. Many breathing problems in infants have symptoms similar to asthma, hence it is very difficult to diagnose and treat asthma early.
Apnea of Prematurity
This is mostly observed in babies born before 37 weeks of gestation. This disorder is more prevalent in underweight babies. About 82% of premature newborns with weight of about 2 pounds are likely to suffer with this disorder, as opposed to 25% of babies with weight over 5 pounds. Apnea of prematurity is the outcome of under developed nervous system of the baby. The nervous system is not fully functional and is unable to control the breathing pattern in a baby. Apnea of prematurity subsides on its own, by the time the baby reaches 42 weeks of gestation.
Just like adults, infants also face the problem of sleep apnea. It is mainly due to an obstruction or a blockage in the passage of an airway. The brain’s failure to control the breathing pattern is another reason for sleep apnea. Sometimes, both of these reasons can exist together and can cause breathing difficulty for your child. Although, it is not unusual for the newborns to have an irregular breathing pattern, babies with sleep apnea, stop breathing every 20 seconds. This is because their brain fails to signal their bodies to breathe.
It is very common for babies to have stuffy nose for the first few weeks after birth. This often leads to chest congestion or blockage of mucus in the airway. This can definitely lead to breathing problems in infants. The airways in infants are already small, and if these small airways get clogged with mucus, then the child is sure to experience difficulty while breathing. Cold and flu infections are other reasons responsible for breathing troubles.
Breathing problems in babies need extreme care and caution on the parents’ part. You strictly need to monitor your babies breathing pattern and also look out for other subtle changes in the babies behavior. Bluish, grayish color of skin should be immediately reported to the pediatrician. Similarly, look for incidences of choking while crying or feeding. In either case, consult your doctor without a delay, so as to diagnose the underlying cause of any respiratory problem.