Babies have a very peculiar way of developing inside the mother's womb. They have the same needs, regarding their food and oxygen intake, but not yet using the digestive or respiratory system. The lungs will form throughout the pregnancy, but they will not use them until they are born, hence we question ourselves how babies breathe inside a pregnant woman's belly.
We know umbilical cord, but many times we do not know what functions are manifested inside the womb of a pregnant woman. This flexible tube joins the fetus to the placenta and will help it get the nutrients it needs and oxygen. In the following lines we detail how they are functions and what vital importance they have on the development of the baby.
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How does the baby breathe inside the belly of a pregnant woman?
The baby or fetus needs food and oxygen in order to grow and develop. You cannot do it as we commonly know, but you take these substances through the umbilical cord.
The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta., whose placenta is also connected to the mother's uterus. The fetus does not use its lungs to breathe, but does so through the umbilical cord. Oxygen flows through the umbilical vein, to reach the heart and then to be distributed throughout the body.
Then non-oxygenated blood returns through the umbilical cord to the uterus, where it takes oxygen again to return to the baby. Through this system, the correct administration of the oxygen that is needed is regulated, without there being a surplus or any type of saturation.
Umbilical cord functions
El umbilical cord connects the fetus to the placenta. It is a kind of flexible conduit that nourishes the baby with oxygen and nutrients. It has a measurement of about 56 cm. Its form and function is part of the development of the entire pregnancy, since through the two umbilical arteries the baby can be properly fed.
The lungs are forming during pregnancy
- The baby's lungs begin to develop in the fifth week of gestation, where they gradually grow to form the alveoli.
- Between weeks 7 to 16 the bronchial tree and the structures that support the lungs (cartilage, blood vessels and muscles) begin to form.
- at week 13 the baby will begin to inhale small amounts of amniotic fluid and will also expel it, it will be his little preparation phase.
- Between weeks 17 to 27 the bronchi will begin to divide into bronchioles and where pneumocytes and surfactant begin to appear, a substance that prevents the alveoli from sticking when inhaling air.
- From the almost complete week 28 to 36 The first alveoli appear, which will be formalized along with the entire lung structure until the moment of birth.
The lungs are the last organ to finish developing during pregnancy. since the umbilical cord replaces its function without any problem. The baby lives submerged under an aquatic environment called amniotic fluid and where your lungs will be filled with this fluid.
Oxygen interruption during pregnancy
Oxygen interruption can occur during pregnancy. One of the causes may be excessively strong contractions or when there is a uterine hyperstimulation. The inappropriate or disproportionate use of oxytocin can play an important role, being the cause of this fact.
During pregnancy it can also create an interruption of the oxygen pathway in the placenta, either due to placenta previa, placental abruption, viral infections, anemia, or an abnormal hemoglobin structure. An interruption of oxygen through the umbilical cord can be one of the causes, where it will be necessary to study in depth why it occurs.
Until the baby is born, the long-awaited miracle will not occur. Until she passes through the birth canal or is delivered by caesarean section, her nose and mouth will not be ready to be opened and inhale the air for the first time. This is when you inhale air and your lungs will expand, causing oxygen to be carried through your blood so that you can live.
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