What happens to a baby with underdeveloped lungs?

My friend just had a baby and they said his lungs were not fully developed and my friend is very upset right now that she can’t take him home. I was just curious of what they will have to do? Will it be any surgery involved or possibly long term effects later in life?
Here baby was actually a week overdue. Not sure why they let her go so long but he was only like 4lbs 6oz and i hadn’t talked to her anymore so I don’t know the cause of it b/c she wasnt premature.

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5 Responses to “What happens to a baby with underdeveloped lungs?”

  1. jlb said:

    Unless there is something else wrong he will probably just be on a breathing machine for a week or 2 (or more depending) until his lungs have matured.

  2. Doodlestuff said:

    Any child born with underdeveloped lungs has a risk of lifetime respiratory problems. It might be something chronic like asthma or something like they are more prone to pneumonia. As to what they will do for this particular infant depends on what troubles the child is having with breathing.

    My Dad’s cousin was born at roughly 33 weeks back in the 1930s. She survived and actually did pretty well, but was prone to get pneumonia. All 4 of my cousins were born prematurely (roughly 34-35 weeks) and none had lung problems at all.

  3. kalyani said:

    The baby will be in NICU for a time. depend on how old the baby is. My friend had her son in 7th month. Her baby stayed in hospital for almost 3 months. At 34-36 weeks baby’s lungs are considered mature. Your friend must be upset because she can’t take her baby home with her, which is ofcourse hard for parents to leave their newborns in hospital.

  4. Leigh said:

    they usually keep them in an incubator for a few weeks, they basically make him an artificial uterus to live in until he is developed enough to survive on his own. they have a tube giving him oxygen, its does the job of his lungs for him until they have developed, and every few hours they do an exercise where they tap his chest and it helps his lungs learn how to function. later effects and surgery really depend on how any weeks premature he is, since its just lung problems hes having, hes probably only a few weeks behind, so odds are he just needs time in the incubator, surgery wont be necessary, and soon he can go home and hell go on to live a normal healthy life. if hes severally premature, like over two months, he may need surgery to fix anything else that isnt formed properly, like his digestive tract, and some long term effects can be blindness, hearing loss, and brain damage from lack of oxygen, but those most likely wont happen in this case. i can tell you more if you say how premature he is.

  5. Al said:

    He will probably be in the NICU on a ventilator, CPAP, nasal cannula, or even just room air while his lungs develop and he learns to coordinate his breathing and eating.

    Many babies are born with underdeveloped lungs and never need surgery. There is no way to know if he will have long term effects. My son was born with underdeveloped lungs at 32 weeks and while he is healthy and “normal” at 5 years old, there is no telling if he will develop asthma or other breathing difficulties later on.

    Is it possible that her due date was wrong? 4lbs. 6 oz. is the size of a 32 or 33 weeker, not a 41 weeker.

    Please encourage your friend to pump her breastmilk for the baby. Being so tiny and already having health problems, he’ll need all the antibodies and benefits that only breastmilk can give.




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