Thanks to recent medical advances, a baby’s chances of surviving RDS (respiratory distress disorder) are significantly better than they used to be. Still, many of these babies have complications from the disease or the treatments used to combat it, including chronic breathing problems, blindness and brain damage, and will need continuing medical care after discharge from the hospital. They may also develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung condition.
The condition tends to get worse between the baby’s second and fourth day of life, after which the baby begins to slowly improve. Most babies who die of RDS do so in the first week of life, though rarely on the first day.