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Who Is at Risk for Respiratory Distress Syndrome?

Certain factors may increase the risk that your infant will have respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). These factors include:

  • Premature delivery. The earlier your baby is born, the greater his or her risk for RDS. Most cases of RDS occur in babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Stress during your baby's delivery, especially if you lose a lot of blood.
  • Infection.
  • Your having diabetes.

Your baby also is at greater risk for RDS if you require an emergency cesarean delivery (C-section) before your baby is full term. You may need an emergency C-section because of a condition, such as a detached placenta, that puts you or your infant at risk.

Planned C-sections that occur before a baby's lungs have fully matured also can increase the risk of RDS. Your doctor can do tests before delivery that show whether it's likely that your baby's lungs are fully developed. These tests assess the age of the fetus or lung maturity.

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Respiratory Distress Syndrome Clinical Trials

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 Respiratory Distress Syndrome, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

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Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.


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