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Hyaline membrane disease; Infant respiratory distress syndrome (IRDS); Respiratory distress syndrome in infants; RDS - infants
Preventing prematurity is the most important way to prevent neonatal RDS. Ideally, this effort begins with the first prenatal visit, which should be scheduled as soon as a mother discovers that she is pregnant. Good prenatal care results in larger, healthier babies and fewer premature births.
Avoiding unnecessary or poorly timed cesarean sections can also reduce the risk of RDS.
If a mother does go into labor early, a lab test will be done to determine the maturity of the infant's lungs. When possible, labor is usually halted until the test shows that the baby's lungs have matured. This decreases the chances of developing RDS.
In some cases, medicines called corticosteroids may be given to help speed up lung maturity in the developing baby. They are often given to pregnant women between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy who seem likely to delivery in the next week. The therapy can reduce the rate and severity of RDS, as well as the rate of other complications of prematurity, such as intraventricular hemorrhage, patent ductus arteriosus, and necrotizing enterocolitis. It is not clear if additional doses of corticosteroids are safe or effective.
Cloherty J, Stark A, Eichenwald E. Manual of Neonatal Care. 6th ed. Lippincott, Wilkins and Williams; 2008.
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