Some premature babies are put on C-PAP to help them breathe. In C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure), air is delivered to a baby’s lungs either through small tubes in the baby’s nose or through a tube that has been inserted into her windpipe. The tubes are attached to a machine, which helps the baby breathe but does not breathe for her.
When regular C-PAP is not enough, a mechanical ventilator breathing machine is used that delivers warmed and humidified air to a baby’s lungs. The sickest babies receive mechanical ventilation, meaning that the mechanical ventilator temporarily breathes for them while their lungs recover. The air is delivered to the baby’s lungs through an endotracheal tube (a small plastic tube that is inserted through a baby’s nose or mouth down into the windpipe).
The amount of oxygen, air pressure and number of breaths per minute can be regulated to meet each baby’s needs.