RDS occurs in premature infants because their lungs have not developed enough. Immature lungs lack surfactant. Surfactant is a foamy fluid that is crucial for the air sacs in the lungs to expand and take in air. When there is not enough surfactant, the lungs cannot expand and the baby has a hard time breathing.
The chance of developing RDS decreases as the fetus grows. Babies born after 36 weeks rarely develop this condition.
Respiratory System of an Infant
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
- Birth before 37 weeks; this condition is more common and more severe with greater prematurity
- Mother with insulin dependent diabetes
- Multiple birth
- Cesarean section delivery
- Cold stress
- Precipitous delivery
- Previously affected infant
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