Preemie Apnea

Updated on September 14, 2011
K.L. asks from Northfield, OH
4 answers

My brand new little foster son just got admitted to our Children's Hospital last night. He was only home for five days from the NICU at our City Hospital, and now he has pneumonia. He's a preemie, born at 27 weeks. He still hasn't even reached his due date of September 30th! We tried so hard to keep the germs away, but he still ended up with this in one lung.
The docs also told us last night that he has preemie apnea. He said it is pretty common in preemies, because their lungs still aren't fully developed. I am a little upset because the nurses we met in the NICU never mentioned this to us at all! Do any of you have any experience with preemie apnea?
***Thank you Rachel! I am going to look into that!

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So What Happened?

Thank you sooo much for your help, mamas!!
Our little guys is currently in the PICU. He has been there since Tuesday night and they have given him his own nurse. They tried oxygen for a while, but were worried about too much oxygen for too long because it can affect his eyesight. He stopped brething 23 times yesterday! Then they tried the caffeine treatment, which worked awesome for about five hours; no episodes. Then when that wore off, he was back to forgetting to breathe. That happened 13 times between about 10 pm last night and 7:00 this morning. They gave him another caffeine treatment at 9:00, and that has worked so far (it's 12:30 now). If he goes back to having episodes this afternoon they are going to intubate him for a while. I am terrified, but I know that they need to make sure he is breathing. :(

More Answers


answers from Richmond on

I don't, but don't worry too much... babies are way tougher than we give them credit for!

Not sure what the doctors have recommended, but I would HIGHLY suggest getting the Angel Care Deluxe Movement Monitor... if baby stops breathing while sleeping, an alarm sounds. The peace of mind is PRICELESS. I'd gladly pay 3x as much as I did for that thing.

The other good part about it, when he gets to the age where he's into everything, it will sound off if the little guy tries to sneak out of his crib ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

Hi K.-

I am very familiar with apnea...preemie twins (29 weeks 3 days) who will be 15 years old in october!

Anyway, they will no doubt release him home on an apnea monitor. There will be a 'belt' that goes around his chest...or 'little stickies' that go on his chest (depends on his size). The monitor is L O U the extent with my girls, if there was an apnic (sp?) episode...the sound alone pretty much got them back breathing regularly. The machine I had would keep alarming until situation the probes if one had fallen off etc. The machine was 'downloaded' as per pulmonologist recommendations. You will also probably required to take an infant CPR course before his release if you haven't had one already (A good idea for ANYONE IMHO....)

This is SO common for preemies that I am shocked he did not go home with a monitor to start...

Not to frighten you, but I would also inquire about the rsv 'vaccine' in his case...years ago it was several IV I think it is called 'respigam' (sp?) and is easier to administer. He is at risk because of his lungs...and the time of year...Worth it to bring it up if they don't...It is pricy...but I got my insurance to cover it for my more challenged ex preemie after she was considered by them to be 'too old'...

I send healing thoughts your way...feel free to private me!!

Best Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Like the other posts said this is very common, and they do grow out of it. My son was born 2 months early in June and was on caffeine for his apnea for 6 weeks in the NICU. They took him off it for a few days before they discharged him and he didn't have any episodes so they sent him home with no monitors.

He is now 3 months old actual/ 1 month adjusted and doing great. Preemies are tough little babies! I hope your little one is all better soon. I'm sorry he's back in the hospital but they will be able to take the best care of him while he is sick.

I agree you should ask them about the RSV vaccine, it is called Synagis, it is a monthly shot during RSV season and protects them from this common virus that can make little babies real sick. It is expensive but your insurance should cover it.

Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to message me. I'm finding this whole preemie parenting thing is different than my other kid, who was full term.



answers from Minneapolis on

I had a preemie born at 32 weeks. He had apnea too and I was told it's very common in preemies. In fact I was told it's kinda not normal for preemies to not have apnea at all and even full term babies can go periods of time without breathing, but preemies can go longer than 20 seconds and forget to breathe again, that's why they are monitored very carefully. My son had a mild case I think. He had 3-4 incidents were he turned little bluish and they said they rubbed his back lightly (to wake him up) and he was breathing again.Thank god those incidents happened when I wasn't in the NICU. Initially the nurses never mentioned it to M. , I guess because it was normal and mild case. I heard lot of preemies are put on caffiene treatments for apnea. I was very worried , so one nurse actually told M. that my son was the only one currently in the NICU who wasn't on caffiene treatment. I think the rule at NICU was 10 days without apnea incidents for the baby to be able to go home. If not they need to stay longer or some will be sent home on apnea monitor if it continues to happen. My son was fine (according to them) but I was terrified. I would worry what if he is fine in the NICU and has an incident after we go home and we don't realize it. What if he does it middle of the night while we are all sleeping.So I bought Angle care monitor which has a motion sensor. That was the best thing ever! The alarm goes off if there is no movement from baby for 20 sec. and that includes breathing as well. Initially I had a bassinet which didn't have hard base(arm's reach bassinet ), so I did get false alarms. So I bought another which had hard wodden base , so the problem was not there.It really gave M. my peace of mind. Hope this helps.

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