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Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn

What is transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN)?

TTN is a medical term for a newborn baby who breathes very fast because there is too much fluid in the baby’s lungs.

Babies who have TTN usually recover completely within 24 hours after birth but can take up to 72 hours. They have no long-lasting side effects.

What is the cause?

Before birth, a baby's lungs make fluid that helps the lungs grow. Chemicals released during labor tells the lungs to stop making the fluid and prepares the lungs for the first breath. The baby's lungs absorb the lung fluid. After birth, the baby takes his first breath and the lungs fill with air, replacing any fluid that is left. The fluid is usually cleared out of the lungs over several hours.

Some babies have extra fluid or absorb the fluid too slowly. The fluid makes it hard for the air sacs in the lungs to stay open and fill with air, causing the baby to breathe faster and harder than normal. Babies born by C-section, or babies born after a fast labor are more likely to have TTN. It is also more common in babies born to mothers with diabetes.

What are the symptoms?

If your baby has extra fluid in the lungs shortly after birth, symptoms may include:

  • Breathing fast (more than 60 times a minute)
  • Pulling in his chest wall with each breath
  • Flaring the nostrils when he breathes in
  • Having a bluish color around the lips, because he needs more oxygen

How is it diagnosed?

TTN is usually diagnosed based on how your baby looks and sounds. Your baby may also have a chest X-ray or blood tests. Other lab tests may be done to make sure that the breathing problems are not caused by something other than TTN.

How is it treated?

The treatment is to help your baby breathe until he outgrows the problem.


Your baby will be attached to a monitor that constantly measures heart rate and breathing rate. He will be given oxygen.


Your baby may need IV fluids and nutrition if his breathing is very fast or he is working hard to breathe and doesn’t feed well.

How can I take care of my child?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your child’s healthcare provider. Ask your provider:

  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-29
Last reviewed: 2015-01-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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