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Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn

Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn

What is transient tachypnea of the newborn?

Transient tachypnea of the newborn is a mild breathing problem. It affects babies during the first hours of life. Transient means it is short-lived. Tachypnea means fast breathing rate. The problem often goes away on its own within about 3 days.

How to say it


What causes transient tachypnea of the newborn?

Before babies are born, they have fluid in their lungs. Babies reabsorb some of that fluid because of hormone changes that happen before birth. More fluid gets reabsorbed as they pass through the birth canal during delivery. The rest of the fluid is absorbed into the lungs after they are born and start breathing on their own. If the fluid isn't absorbed fast enough or if they have too much fluid in the lungs, they can't take in oxygen very well. Babies with this problem have to breathe faster and harder to get enough oxygen into the lungs.

Who is at risk for transient tachypnea of the newborn?

Only a small number of all newborn babies get this breathing problem. Although premature babies can have it, most babies with this problem are full-term. Babies delivered by C-section (without labor) are more likely to have this condition. This is because without the hormone changes of labor the fluid in the lungs is still there. The baby has to work to reabsorb it after birth. Babies of moms with diabetes or asthma may also be more likely to have this condition.

What are the symptoms of transient tachypnea of the newborn?

Symptoms may be a bit different for each child. They can include:

  • Fast breathing rate of more than 60 breaths per minute

  • Grunting sounds with breathing

  • Flaring of the nostrils

  • Pulling in around the ribs with breathing

The symptoms of this breathing problem can seem like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is transient tachypnea of the newborn diagnosed?

Your baby may need a chest X-ray to help diagnose the problem. On X-ray, the lungs look streaky and overinflated. The symptoms of this breathing problem may seem like other more serious respiratory problems. These include lung infection (pneumonia) or premature lungs (respiratory distress syndrome). Often transient tachypnea of the newborn is diagnosed when symptoms go away in the first few hours or days of life.

How is transient tachypnea of the newborn treated?

Often the problem goes away on its own within about 3 days. Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Treatment may include:

  • Supplemental oxygen. Oxygen is given to your baby by placing a mask on the face or prongs (cannula) in the nose. Or by putting your baby under an oxygen hood.

  • Blood tests. These tests measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your baby’s blood. Tests may also be done to look for infection.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This treatment uses a mechanical breathing machine. The machine pushes a continuous flow of air to your baby’s airways to help keep tiny air passages in the lungs open.

  • IV (intravenous) fluid. Your baby may need this for hydration and nutrition if the condition doesn't go away in the first few hours. This is because babies who are having trouble breathing aren't able to eat.

  • Tube feeding. Babies may need this if their breathing rate is too high for more than a few hours. This will help give your baby more nutrition without the risk of breathing in food from the mouth into the lungs.

Once the problem goes away, your baby should get better quickly. They aren't likely to have any long-term problems.

Key points about transient tachypnea of the newborn

  • Transient tachypnea of the newborn is a mild breathing problem. It affects babies soon after birth and lasts up to 3 days.

  • The problem often goes away on its own.

  • Treatment may include supplemental oxygen, blood tests, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Babies will often need help with nutrition until they are able to feed by mouth.

  • Once the problem goes away, your baby should get better quickly. There aren't likely to be any long-term problems.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.

  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.

  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.

  • Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.

  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.

  • Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.

  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.

  • Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.

Reviewed Date: 03-01-2023

Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
Dr. Faysal Akbik
Dr. Rachel Armentrout
Dr. Kathryn Colacchio
Dr. Susannah Dillender
Dr. Glen Green
Dr. Jamil Khan
Dr. Kaitlin Ryan-Smith
Dr. Kirk Sallas
Dr. Tushar Shah
Dr. Brett Siegfried
Dr. Kenneth Tiffany
Dr. Lana Zhang-Brofft
Dr. Frank Chocano
Dr. Angela Marko
Dr. Carlos Sendon
Dr. Cynthia Spoolman
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Diseases & Conditions
Anatomy of a Newborn Baby’s Skull
Assessments for Newborn Babies
Baby's Care After Birth
Breast Milk Collection and Storage
Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
Breastfeeding at Work
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
Breastfeeding: Getting Started
Breathing Problems
Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room
Caring for Babies in the NICU
Caring for Newborn Multiples
Common Conditions and Complications
Common Procedures
Congenital Heart Disease Index
Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking
Digestive Disorders
Fever in a Newborn Baby
Hearing Loss in Babies
Hearing Screening Tests for Newborns
Heart Disorders
High-Risk Newborn Blood Disorders
Infant Feeding Guide
Infant of a Mother with Diabetes
Infant Play
Infant Sleep
Infection in Babies
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Keeping Your Baby Warm
Male Conditions
Megaureter in Children
Micropenis in Children
Neurological Disorders in the Newborn
Newborn Appearance
Newborn Babies: Getting Ready at Home
Newborn Behaviors and Activities
Newborn Complications
Newborn Crying
Newborn Health Assessment
Newborn Measurements
Newborn Reflexes
Newborn Screening Tests
Newborn Senses
Newborn Sleep Patterns
Newborn Warning Signs
Physical Exam of the Newborn
Preparing for Your New Baby
Preparing the Family
Skin Color Changes
Substance Exposure
Taking Your Baby Home from the NICU
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Respiratory System in Babies
Thrush (Oral Candida Infection) in Children
Umbilical Cord Care
Vision and Hearing
When to Call Your Child's Healthcare Provider

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.