Risk Factors - Respiratory Distress Syndrome - Risk Factors

Certain factors may increase the risk that your newborn will have RDS. These factors include:

  • Infection
  • 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.
  • Problems with your baby’s lung development
  • Stress during your baby's delivery, especially if you lose a lot of blood
  • You having diabetes

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

Planned cesarean deliveries that occur before a baby's lungs have fully matured can also increase your baby’s risk for RDS. Your doctor can do tests before delivery that show whether it is likely that your baby's lungs are fully developed. These tests determine the age of the fetus or lung maturity.