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Lakes DHB Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

Public Service, Intensive Care, Maternity, Paediatrics

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous positive airway pressure, commonly called CPAP, is a special type of breathing circuit that is used to help your baby's breathing. CPAP is delivered through a set of nasal prongs or through a small mask that fits snugly over a baby’s nose.

A baby may require CPAP if:

  • they are born early (premature)
  • they have an infection
  • they are having difficulty breathing

How long your baby requires CPAP will depend on their age, when they were born and their medical condition.

CPAP will help your baby to breathe, by supporting their own breathing efforts. CPAP delivers constant air pressure into a baby's nose, which helps the air sacs in the lungs stay open. This helps a baby to breathe more regularly and prevents apnea (when they forget to breathe).

This page was last updated at 12:02PM on July 20, 2021.