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Causes of Fluid in the Baby's Lungs at Birth

Causes of Fluid in the Baby's Lungs at Birth

A sign that is closely monitored by the doctor or the midwife, performing the delivery procedure; the fluid in the baby's lungs is taken into account. What it means and what can be done about the condition is discussed herein. ...
Azmin Taraporewala
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2018
Pregnancy is packed with a whole lot of anxiety and excitement, however, the most delicate situation is the delivery period, where pressure and tension escalate. It is during this stage that an abnormality found in the baby worries the mother to no end. The trouble starts when the baby does not excrete the required amount of amniotic fluid from the lungs. The baby has to expel the amniotic fluid that its lungs are filled with when sheltered in the mother's womb. This fluid must be removed when there are chemical signals passed that indicate that the fluid has to be expelled. It is through these chemical signals that this fluid is squeezed out. When the baby passes through the birth canal, a level of pressure is exerted through which the liquid is pushed out. Some more traces have their outlet when the baby has arrived and is expelling the fluid through coughing. It is only after 10 seconds that the baby starts to breathe and it is the air that fills the lungs that pushes out the remaining fluid in the lungs. However, there are certain cases where the fluid is not expelled, this may cause certain complications. Either the pressure that was exerted at the birth canal was not adequate or the chemical signals to push out the amniotic fluid was not received well by the baby. As mentioned earlier, the fluid in baby's lungs is amniotic fluid. This condition is called transient tachypnea.

Another condition that may lead to difficulty while breathing is called meconium, caused by the presence of meconium inhaled into the lungs of the baby. It is due to this that the lungs fail to inflate after birth. This is known as meconium aspiration syndrome, and can lead to the baby being placed in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Generally meconium; a thick sticky substance, is released only after birth as the baby's excreta. However, when the meconium is released before birth into the amniotic fluid, the problem is created. It is when the amniotic fluid is not pushed out in time that the trouble during breathing occurs. In the next section of the article, we look at the functions the amniotic fluid performs.

What is the Role of Amniotic Fluid?

The amniotic fluid is the fluid in which the baby floats. It is a floating mechanism that helps the baby in its development. Here is what the amniotic fluid does for the growth and development of the baby.
  • The amniotic fluid serves to be a lubricant through which the baby floats and moves around.
  • It plays a major role in protecting the baby and providing it with a cover or cushion.
  • It makes sure that the umbilical cord is not excessively compressed; the baby may get suffocated and the oxygen supply may be cut off.
  • It also facilitates the growth and development of the lungs as the baby inhales the amniotic fluid.
  • With the facilitation of the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal tract is taken care of as the fluid is being consumed by mouth.
  • It consists of disease fighting nutrients and components that help the baby in building its immunity system.
What are the Symptoms of Transient Tachypnea

You may understand that your baby is enduring this condition when you notice:
  • The baby is breathing rapidly.
  • Has its nostrils flaring up while inhaling and exhaling
  • The ribcage forms a dent like structure when the baby is breathing in
  • Babies with fluid in their lungs elicit certain moaning and groaning sounds
  • The nose flares up rigorously
  • The outsides of the mouth and the nose have developed bluish rays.
Treatment for Transient Tachypnea

There are certain diagnostic tests that are conducted, such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) to detect the presence of infections; chest X-rays, it shows if the baby's lungs are inflated to a large extent. Supplemental oxygen is supplied by affixing a mask for oxygen to flow and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) through which air is passed due to which the airways in the baby's lungs will open up. Administration of antibiotics through IV is also facilitated.

Transient tachypnea is thus the reason behind finding fluid in baby's lungs. Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures to control the occurrence of the condition.
Newborn baby
The birth of a child with doctor