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 you're having a planned cesarean delivery (C-section), your doctor can do tests before delivery to show whether it's likely that your baby's lungs are fully developed. These tests assess the age of the fetus or lung maturity.
Your doctor may give you injections of a corticosteroid medicine if he or she thinks you may give birth too early. This medicine can speed up surfactant production and development of the lungs, brain, and kidneys in your baby.
Treatment with corticosteroids can reduce your baby's risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). If the baby does develop RDS, it will probably be fairly mild.
Corticosteroid treatment also can reduce the chances that your baby will have bleeding in the brain.
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.
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.