Rapid breathing is normal in newborns, to an extent. According to research from Stanford Children’s Health, infants breathe around 40 to 60 times every minute—much more than older children and adults. When sleeping, a newborn’s breathing rate may be reduced to 30 to 40 times per minute.
Newborn breathing may also be somewhat irregular without being an indication of an underlying medical condition. For example, some newborns breathe in rapid succession, followed by a break in breathing that may last up to 10 seconds. These unusual breathing habits are known as “periodic breathing.”
Still, it is important that you monitor your baby’s breathing habits so you can watch out for anything out of the ordinary. When asking yourself, “Is rapid breathing normal in newborns?” you should also know that this can be a telltale sign of respiratory distress.
Respiratory distress may result from medical negligence during the birthing process or other underlying health conditions. If you fear your child is having trouble breathing, you need to seek immediate medical attention, as a lack of oxygen can have severe side effects.
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Symptoms That a Newborn Is Having Trouble Breathing
Irregular breathing habits, strange movements in the diaphragm, and grunting can all be signs that your newborn is experiencing respiratory distress. Other symptoms of respiratory distress can include, but may not be limited to:
- Pulling in the chest. The baby may attempt to get more air by retracting their midsection.
- Changes in skin color. Newborns who are not getting enough oxygen may take on a blue skin tone. This onset of blue skin is known as cyanosis, and the lack of oxygen in their blood may be a sign of a serious health condition.
- Consistent coughing. While infrequent coughing is normal for newborns, continuous coughing may indicate a form of respiratory distress.
- Long breaks in breathing. If the newborn does not breathe for more than 20 seconds at a time, this may be an indicator of a potentially dangerous apnea condition.
- Nostril flares or lip strain. As the infant fights to breathe, they may strain their mouth or nostrils in an effort to get more oxygen.
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Causes of Infant Breathing Problems
Breathing problems in infants can result from injuries to the throat or lungs, as well as damage to the child’s brain. The medical staff present during the birthing process may be held liable for these types of injuries. Further, premature birth is a large factor in many cases of respiratory distress, which may also be caused by medical malpractice.
Premature birth can cause small sacs to collapse in the lungs, resulting in respiratory distress. This condition is most common in newborns born at least six weeks early. Further, a condition known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia can cause severe breathing difficulties and may occur in babies born ten or more weeks premature. This condition is largely due to the child’s lungs not having enough time to develop.
In some cases, it is the treatment for this respiratory distress that exacerbates breathing conditions. Such is the case for baby’s subjected to harsh ventilator machines.
When Medical Staff Is Responsible for an Infant’s Breathing Condition
If a medical professional was supposed to be caring for you during your pregnancy or the ensuing birth, he or she may be held liable for any injuries resulting from negligence.
Filing a legal claim against these parties may result in numerous recoverable damages, including:
- Medical expenses.
- Mental anguish.
- Damage to the victim’s future, including permanent physical or mental disabilities.
- The cost of ongoing care.
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Lawyers Fighting for Your Birth Injury Case
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our attorneys can be there by your side as you take legal action against negligent medical professionals. By holding these parties financially responsible for your pain and suffering, we hope you can find peace moving forward.
If signs of distress from your child force you to ask, “Is rapid breathing normal in newborns?” you may already be the victim of a terrible injustice. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group may help you fight for your right to compensation, while providing legal counsel along the way. You are not in this alone.
For more information about our services, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. Your free consultation is waiting at (800) 222-9529.