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Congenital pneumonia: What is the rare disease Kate Ferdinand's daughter was born with?

Kate Ferdinand, pictured with her husband Rio Ferdinand, has revealed her newborn daughter was born with congenital pneumonia. (Getty Images)
Kate Ferdinand has revealed her newborn daughter was born with congenital pneumonia. (Getty Images)

Kate Ferdinand has revealed she was given a "fright" when her newborn baby was born with congenital pneumonia.

The 32-year-old former reality TV star and her husband Rio Ferdinand welcomed daughter, Shae, 10 weeks ago, and have been settling into life with a new baby.

But now Kate has shared a little about their daughter's health scare, revealing that fortunately the newborn "recovered quickly" from the condition.

Sharing several pictures to document the family's first couple of months after Shae's arrival to Instagram, Kate accompanied the images revealing a little more about new parenthood.

"10 weeks of Shae," she wrote. "10 weeks of being in our little [bubble emoji] getting to know my gorgeous little girl and adapting to life with 5 kids."

The former TOWIE star went on to thank fans for "checking in" on her.

"We are both well, although she made quite the entrance into this world and gave us a fright being born with congenital pneumonia, thankfully she recovered quickly but those first few days without my baby have really made me want to soak up every moment with her. I’m completely obsessed."

Read more: What is the painful breastfeeding condition mastitis? From symptoms to treatments (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)

What is congenital pneumonia?

Congenital pneumonia is a rare condition that can occur when a newborn contracts an infection from the mother before birth.

"Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which is primarily bacterial but can also be due to fungi and viruses," Dr Suhail Hussain, a private GP covering Herts and Greater London explains.

"Congenital pneumonia is contracted from the mother, prior to delivery due to a maternal infection which is then transferred to the baby in utero."

Dr Hussain warns that neonatal pneumonia is a "major cause of death and disability in early life, if not caught and treated quickly and effectively".

Congenital pneumonia signs and symptoms

Dr Hussain says congenital pneumonia can be hard to detect as the newborn appears more generally unwell than with specific respiratory symptoms.

Some congenital pneumonia signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Respiratory rate and increased breathing

  • Grunting

  • Bluish colour

  • Failing to feed well

  • Generally lethargic

  • Apnoea (periods of stopped breathing)

"A high degree of suspicion is required if the baby seems unwell," he says, adding that it can be more common in premature babies.

"When the baby’s immune system is less well developed and also the respiratory system itself will be less well developed and this is a confounding factor," he continues.

Cropped shot of a loving Asian mother holding newborn baby wrapped in a towel, drying baby girl after a fresh bath. New life. Love and care concept
Congenital pneumonia can be more common in premature babies. (Getty Images)

Congenital pneumonia treatment

If you notice any of the symptoms of congenital pneumonia, call 111 or take your baby to the closest hospital where antibiotics, respiratory support and other treatment measures will be undertaken.

"Premature babies may be lacking in something called surfactant which increases the risks of this occurring and in such cases the surfactant needs to be replaced," Dr Hussain says.

"Generally speaking this is a rare condition but if found needs expeditious management."