What causes persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns?

The birth of your child should be an exciting time, but if he or she suffers a birth injury, it can make this a scary time. Luckily, most birth situations end without any complications or issues. However, it can help to learn more about potential issues that your baby may be at risk for. Understanding the condition can make it easier to deal with it is happens. One condition you may want to learn about is persistent pulmonary hypertension. 

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, persistent pulmonary hypertension occurs when too much blood flows past a newborn’s lungs and results in high blood pressure in the lungs. This stops the natural exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The treatment for this condition is to increase the oxygen in the baby’s blood. 

In the womb 

When your baby is in the womb, the normal flow of blood results in it bypassing the lungs since your baby is unable to breathe air at that time. However, once your baby is born and he or she takes his or her first breath, it should automatically change the blood flow. If this does not happen, your baby may develop persistent pulmonary hypertension. 

The complication 

Persistent pulmonary hypertension may happen when the blood vessels in your baby’s lungs are abnormal. They may be undeveloped or have trouble reacting the way they should to air. Typically, this issue happens during birth where the baby suffers oxygen deprivation. 

It is more common in difficult birth situations, especially in babies born after their due dates. It may be more likely if your baby has other problems with its lungs or heart at the time of birth.