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Newborn and Infant Care

Problems of baby at birth

11/13/2000

Question:

What does it mean when a baby is born with amniotic fluid on his lungs. What is the prognosis?

Answer:

During intrauterine life the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid. Beginning at about eleven weeks gestation the developing baby begins to practice breathing, and the lungs become filled with amniotic fluid. This continues until birth. While in utero the baby receives its oxygen from the placenta through the umbilical vein. With birth the placenta is no longer there, and the baby must breathe air in order to receive the necessary oxygen for life. However, because the lungs have had amniotic fluid in them for many months, it may take some time for the amniotic fluid to move into the interstitial space (tissue surrounding the lungs). The movement of this fluid may occur quickly, or it may take hours to days. The prognosis depends on many things, and is something that only the child`s health care provider can answer.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati