Taking steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy might prevent your infant from being born before his or her lungs have fully developed. These steps include:
If your doctor thinks that you're going to give birth too early, he or she may give you injections of a corticosteroid medicine.
The medicine can speed up surfactant production in your baby. Surfactant is a liquid that coats the inside of the lungs. It helps keep them open so your infant can breathe in air once he or she is born.
Usually, within about 24 hours of your taking this medicine, the baby's lungs start making enough surfactant. This will reduce the infant's risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), which can lead to bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).
Corticosteroids also can help your baby's lungs, brain, and kidneys develop more quickly while he or she is in the womb.
If your baby does develop RDS, it will probably be fairly mild. If the RDS isn't mild, BPD will likely develop.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.