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TTN (Transient Tachypnea of Newborn)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 2, 2022.

What is TTN?

TTN is fast and hard breathing that begins within the first hours after birth and then goes away. TTN happens when there is extra fluid in your baby's lungs or the fluid is slow to clear from his lungs. Your baby breathes faster and harder as he tries to get oxygen into his lungs. TTN usually goes away on its own within a few days of treatment in the hospital.

What causes TTN?

Your baby's lungs are filled with fluid while he is in the womb. All of his oxygen comes from the blood vessels of the placenta. Fluid begins to clear from your baby's lungs as his due date gets close. More of it clears as he moves down the birth canal. The rest is cleared when he takes his first breaths after birth.

What increases my baby's risk for TTN?

  • Delivered by cesarean section, especially an elective cesarean without labor
  • Diabetes or asthma in his mother
  • Babies who are small or large for their gestational age
  • Being male

What are the signs and symptoms of TTN?

  • Fast, hard breathing (more than 60 breaths in a minute)
  • Grunting or moaning sounds when your baby breathes out
  • The skin between your baby's ribs pulls in with each breath
  • Nostrils open wider or head bobs when your baby breathes in
  • Bluish color around your baby's mouth or nose

How is TTN diagnosed?

TTN may look like other respiratory problems, such as pneumonia or immature lungs. Your baby's healthcare provider may use chest x-rays along with his physical exam to help with the diagnosis. He may also use any of the following:

  • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your baby's blood.
  • A blood test may be done to check for infection.

How is TTN treated?

Healthcare providers will watch your baby closely until TTN goes away. Your baby may need any of the following:

  • Extra oxygen may be needed if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is used if your baby continues to have trouble breathing even with extra oxygen. CPAP is a machine that continues to push pressurized air into your baby's lungs. The air goes through a tube in your baby's nose and keeps his lungs open when he breathes.
  • An IV is used to give liquids for nutrition and hydration. They may be given if your baby is breathing so fast that he cannot feed and breathe at the same time. This will keep his blood sugar levels from going too low. Talk to healthcare providers if you plan on breastfeeding. They will help you get your milk supply going until your baby is ready to feed.

Call 911 if:

  • Your baby is having trouble breathing.
  • Your baby has fast, hard breathing (more than 60 breaths in a minute).
  • The skin between your baby's ribs pulls in with each breath.
  • Your baby's skin is blue or gray.

When should I contact my baby's healthcare provider?

  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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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Further information

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