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Apnea of Prematurity

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is apnea of prematurity?

Apnea of prematurity is an episode when a premature baby stops breathing for 15 to 20 seconds. Premature babies are born earlier than 37 weeks, before certain parts of the body have fully formed. Apnea may happen when the part of the brain that controls breathing is affected. It may also happen from weak airway and breathing muscles. Most premature babies outgrow apnea after a few weeks.

What other signs may my baby have during an apnea episode?

How is apnea of prematurity diagnosed and treated?

Your baby's breathing and heart rate will be monitored while he or she sleeps. He or she may need any of the following:

What should I do if my baby is not breathing?

Do not shake your baby to make him or her breathe.

What can I do to help my baby breathe easier?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Where can I find support and more information?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my baby's pediatrician?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.