The Connection Between Diabetes & Neonatal Respiratory Distress

New mothers want to do everything they can to protect their children from health dangers. However, mothers with diabetes may not realize the way that their disease can cause a severe problem known as neonatal respiratory distress. This disease occurs in premature babies and is one that requires serious pediatric treatment.

Diabetes Can Lead to Premature Babies

The connection between diabetes and premature birth has been noted for several years. In one study, it was found that women with diabetes were "significantly more" likely to have premature births. The reasons for this are unclear, but likely have a lot to do with unstable blood sugar levels and the body reacting to the presence of the child as a way of protecting the mother.

While treatment for premature births has improved significantly over the last 100 years, it can still be a tricky situation. Often, it requires touch-and-go treatment methods, particularly when more serious problems like neonatal respiratory distress occur.

Why Premature Babies Develop Neonatal Respiratory Distress

Neonatal respiratory distress is a disease that happens in children who were born before their lungs were fully developed. Inside of the lungs, there is a substance known as surfactant. This item helps the lungs stay filled with air and avoids deflation of air sacs. Unfortunately, children that lack surfactant will be unable to breathe properly and are likely to suffer from a collapsed lung.

Diabetes is one of the many influences on this problematic disease. Other factors include a cesarean delivery, blood flow problems during delivery, multiple pregnancy, or labor that was too quick. A pediatrician can help with many of these problems. However, when neonatal respiratory distress does occur, it must be managed immediately.

Thankfully, Treatment Is Possible

While a new mother who carefully monitors her diabetes can help avoid premature birth, when it does cause this breathing problem, treatment is possible. It can be a lengthy and difficult process for both mother and infant, though. As soon as the child is born, they must be moved into an intensive care unit and receive oxygen therapy to keep them alive.

Then, they must receive surfactant replacement therapy in order to provide their lungs with the necessary amount of this vital fluid. This process involves hooking the baby up to a ventilator and slowly feeding it into their lungs. Treatments, such as antibiotics, are often used to avoid infections that can occur in children this young.

Any mothers who suffer from diabetes or even pre-diabetic symptoms need to talk to their pediatrician right away to discover how it can affect their child's birth. Failure to take into account this dangerous health problem can put the lives of their newborn at serious risk.