Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Respiratory adaptation in term infants following elective caesarean section


Objective To determine respiratory rate (RR), tidal volume (TV) and end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2) values in full-term infants immediately after caesarean section, and to assess whether infants that develop transient tachypnoea of the newborn (TTN) follow the same physiological patterns.

Design and patients A Respironics NM3 Monitor (Philips, Netherlands) continuously measured RR, TV and EtCO2 for 7 min in infants >37 weeks’ gestation following elective caesarean section (ECS). Monitoring was repeated at 2 hours of age for 2 min. Gestation, birth weight, Apgar scores and admissions to neonatal unit were documented.

Setting The operative delivery theatre of Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland.

Results There were 95 term infants born by ECS included. Median (IQR) gestation was 39 weeks (38.2–39.1) and median (IQR) birth weight 3420 g (3155–3740). Median age at initiation of monitoring was 26.5 s (range: 20–39). Data were analysed for the first 7 min of life. Mean breaths per minute (bpm) increased over the first 7 min of life (44.31–61.62). TV and EtCO2 values were correlated and increased from 1 min until maximum mean values were recorded at 3 min after delivery (5.18 mL/kg–6.44 mL/kg, and 4.32 kPa–5.64 kPa, respectively). Infants admitted to the neonatal unit with TTN had significantly lower RRs from 2 min of age compared with infants not admitted for TTN.

Conclusions TV and EtCO2 values are correlated and increase significantly over the first few minutes following ECS. RR increases gradually from birth, and rates were lower in infants that develop TTN.

  • transition
  • newborn adaptation
  • respiratory function monitoring
  • transient tachypnea of the newborn
  • neonate

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.