Respiratory disorders, IRDS and PAS

One of the biggest changes at birth is for the newborn baby to start using its lungs to breathe. Before the baby is born, its lungs are filled with fluid. With a normal delivery, the baby's lungs start to prepare during labour and some of the fluid in its lungs is expelled during the delivery itself. In planned caesarean sections, the baby's lungs are not prepared and this can make it harder for the baby to start breathing normally, because there is a lot of fluid left in the lungs.

Infant respiratory distress syndrome, (IRDS), is the mildest form of respiratory disorder and the symptoms include rapid and laboured breathing. Sometimes the baby may need oxygen or short-term respiratory support in the form of CPAP, the application of continuous positive airway pressure to help open the lungs.

Pulmonary adaptation syndrome, PAS, is a slightly more pronounced form of respiratory disorder in which the symptoms are similar, but persist for longer, sometimes several days. With PAS, more fluid is left in the lungs and it presents a typical picture when the lungs are X-rayed. The treatment is the same as for IRDS – CPAP and, if necessary, extra oxygen.

Text: Kajsa Bohlin Blennow