Baby Breathes Heavily: Should You Be Worried?
The human body is one of the amazing specimens in the world, and one only needs to know how the baby develops to prove it. Take, for example, how they breathe.
The baby’s lungs develop very early on during the pregnancy. By the time the fetus is already on the fifth to sixteenth week, the lungs will closely resemble those of a human adult.
However, babies don’t actually breathe in the normal sense while in the womb. The movement that you see is caused by the swallowing of the amniotic fluid. Nevertheless, the lungs get some form of exercise while the baby receives the much-needed oxygen from the breathing of the mom. This oxygen moves toward the placenta then to the umbilical cord then to the baby.
During labor, the baby moves toward the birth canal to exit the womb. He or she may receive some oxygen, but he or she takes his or her first independent breath once the baby is already out of the womb.
Lungs Not Yet Developed
Even then, the infant doesn’t gain the full lung capacity. In the last few weeks of the pregnancy, the lungs will grow alveoli, or those air sacs that allow the exchange of oxygen, but they are not a lot. As the baby becomes a toddler then a full-fledged child, these numbers will increase tremendously – by the millions!
In other words, your baby still has a long way to go before he or she can breathe like you.
So How Do They Breathe?
It’s definitely concerning for parents to see their infant not breathing for few seconds or making some noise while they’re supposed to be asleep. But some of these behaviors are normal.
As infants acclimatize themselves with the new environment, especially breathing by themselves, they don’t have a consistent or rhythmic breathing pattern:
Don’t worry, though, since as the baby matures, breathing will become more consistent or stable.
When You Should Be Worried
Despite the inconsistent breath rhythm of babies, parents should still know when it’s normal and when it’s not. Raise the alarm when:
Causes of Heavy Breathing
A baby breathes heavily abnormally when:
What Should You Do?
While babies are prone to shallow fast breathing, it’s still best to pay attention to it. Here are some tips you can do:
The many things parenting can teach you – an inconsistent and even heavy breathing of babies should not cause any panic. But then, it’s always best to heed to the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or have your baby checked when you feel something is amiss.