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About Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN) – Part 1

• Some newborns’ breathing during the first hours of life is more rapid and labored than normal.
• This is because of a lung condition called transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN).
• About 1% of all newborns develop TTN, which usually eases after a few days with treatment.
• Babies born with TTN need special monitoring and treatment while in the hospital.
• Most make a full recovery, with no lasting effect on growth and development.

About Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

• Before birth, a fetus’ lungs are filled with fluid.
• While inside the mother, a fetus does not use the lungs to breathe.
• This is as all oxygen comes from the blood vessels of the placenta.
• As the due date nears, the baby’s lungs begin to clear the fluid in response to hormonal changes.
• Some fluid may also be squeezed out during the birth when a baby passes through the birth canal.
• After the birth, a newborn takes those first breaths and the lungs fill with air thereby pushing more fluid out of the lungs.
• Any remaining fluid is then coughed out.
• The fluid is gradually absorbed into the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
• In infants with TTN, however, extra fluid in the lungs remains or the fluid is cleared too slowly.
• So it is more difficult for the baby to inhale oxygen properly.
• The baby breathes faster and harder to get enough oxygen into the lungs.

Causes of Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

• TTN, also called “wet lungs” or type II respiratory distress syndrome, usually can be diagnosed in the hours after birth.
• It’s not possible to detect before the birth whether a child will have it.
• TTN can occur in both preemies and full-term babies.

Newborns at higher risk for TTN include those who are:
• delivered by cesarean section (C-section)
• born to mothers with diabetes
• born to mothers with asthma
• small for gestational age (small at birth)

Which type of delivery can cause TTN?

• During vaginal births, especially with full-term babies, the pressure of passing through the birth canal squeezes some of the fluid out of the lungs.
• Babies who are small or premature or who are delivered via rapid vaginal deliveries or C-section don’t undergo the usual squeezing and hormone changes of a vaginal birth.
• They tend to have more fluid than normal in their lungs when they take their first breaths.

Signs and Symptoms of TTN

• Rapid, labored breathing (tachypnea) of more than 60 breaths a minute.
• Grunting or moaning sounds when the baby exhales.
• Flaring nostrils or head bobbing.
• Retractions (when the skin pulls in between the ribs or under the ribcage during rapid or labored breathing).
• Cyanosis (when the skin turns a bluish color) around the mouth and nose.

Diagnosis of Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

• TTN has symptoms that are initially similar to more severe newborn respiratory problems.
• The conditions can be like pneumonia or persistent pulmonary hypertension.
• Doctors may use chest X-rays in addition to physical examination to make a diagnosis.

Study Guide for Foundations of Maternal-Newborn and Women’s Health Nursing Eat, Sleep, Poop Study Guide to Accompany Essentials of Maternity, Newborn, and Women’s Health Nursing

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