How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb?

Posted by Jack Spencer on

Baby Breathe Womb

 

When the baby is inside her mother’s womb, she is called a fetus. A full-term baby is completely developed only after 38 weeks of fertilization. During this entire time period, the baby inside the womb doesn’t actually breathe. She only needs oxygen to be alive but her heart starts beating as early as 22 days after being conceived. This is a sign that she is alive and active inside the womb. The oxygen she needs to stay alive is received through the placenta and umbilical cord. The mother breathes for her baby and provides her with oxygen through this cord.

Even though babies do not breathe directly, they do make movements that show as if they are breathing or taking in oxygen through their nose. Such movements are commonly observed after 9 weeks of pregnancy are complete. This practice is not necessary but it prepares the baby to start breathing as soon as she enters this world after birth.

Her mother is also called her “breathing surrogate” because she breathes on her behalf. An unborn baby’s lungs do not expand and contract but they are filled with amniotic fluid. Hence the baby is incapable of taking in oxygen through her mouth or nose. However, her system does remove carbon dioxide from her bloodstream and replace it with oxygen. The circulatory system of the baby is still developing and is only fully developed once the baby is born.

The placenta carries the blood to the baby, which is composed of oxygen as well as nutrients for a healthy growth. Carbon dioxide received from the baby’s bloodstream enters the mother’s bloodstream through her umbilical cord, which is then removed from the body when the mother exhales. By the end of pregnancy, the fetus starts inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluid.

This is to ensure that she keeps on doing it once she comes out of the womb and into the real world. The amniotic fluid is composed of a substance known as surfactant. The quantity of this substance increases as pregnancy progresses. This is required to coat the walls of the baby’s lungs so that they don’t collapse and are prepared to take on their job once the baby is born. When the baby is finally born, she is made to cry so that air could enter the lungs. The change in environment makes the baby gasp, which results in more pronounced wailing.

The amniotic fluid slowly drains away when proper inhaling and exhaling starts. Oxygen starts to move through the body and life continues. When the baby is born, the placenta is detached from which she was previously receiving oxygen to stay alive. Once this happens, the lungs take over and the fluid that was inside them is removed to make room for air. The first few breaths after birth are the most difficult and at times the doctors have to intervene to make this happen smoothly. Physical stimulation usually helps to encourage the baby to take her first breath after birth.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb Birth??

The first question that pops in the mind of many is how do babies actually breathe inside the womb when they are surrounded by the amniotic fluid? Well, an unborn baby does not breathe the way we do. There are no inhaling or exhaling movements but the baby does receive her oxygen through the umbilical cord, which is attached to the placenta that carries blood from her mother’s bloodstream.

As pregnancy progresses the baby starts showing some breathing-like movements. This practice gets her ready to start actual breathing once she enters the real world. But inside the womb, all she is inhaling and exhaling is the amniotic fluid. Her lungs are also filled with this fluid to keep them from collapsing. But once the baby is born and she takes her first breath outside the womb, the fluid slowly drains away and is replaced by air. The tiny sacs in the lungs that are filled with oxygen are known as alveoli.

They are developed only after 24 weeks of pregnancy. So, this means a baby who is born premature before 24 weeks, she has very less chance of survival as her lungs are not fully developed. Once the sacs are developed by 36 weeks of pregnancy, the baby is ready to enter the world and start breathing on her own. The umbilical cord continues to supply oxygen until after the baby is born.

The umbilical cord is responsible to provide an unborn baby with oxygen. As long as this cord remains intact, there is no risk of dying because of shortage of oxygen. But right after birth when this cord is cut off, the baby has to get air inside her lungs through her mouth. This is done through her first cry.

Most babies start crying right after birth but some are physically stimulated to start crying or wailing. Inside the womb, the inhaling movements are not meant to fill up the lungs with oxygen. Instead, they only fill them up with the fluid. One sign that calls for an early delivery is when the mother’s water breaks.

The amniotic fluid comes rushing out leaving the baby in a vacuum and at risk of developing an infection. When this happens, the doctors keep monitoring the baby’s heart rate and wait till at least 34 weeks are complete. This is to ensure that the baby’s lungs are developed. Otherwise, if the heart rate is decreasing there is no option but to induce labour and leave the rest to nature.

A baby needs oxygen-rich blood to continue to grow inside the womb. This is provided essentially through the placenta, which is composed of many blood vessels and which continues to grow with the baby throughout pregnancy. Preterm babies may experience difficulty in breathing because of the reason that their lungs are not fully developed. In any case, a baby only takes her first true breath when she is finally outside the womb and the umbilical cord is no longer supplying her with oxygen.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb Pregnancy?

Inside her mother’s womb, a baby is only a fetus, an unborn child who doesn’t need to breathe like normal people do. While she does need oxygen to stay alive and active but this is received through her mother’s bloodstream via the placenta, which is attached to the umbilical cord. The heartbeat is usually heard within 22 days of conception, which means the fetus is very much alive. But that doesn’t mean that the fetus has to inhale and exhale air to receive her share of oxygen.

What happens inside the womb? The baby is surrounded by the amniotic fluid inside the womb, which makes it impossible to take in air anyway. However, the baby does make movements that resemble that of normal breathing. She opens her mouth and then closes it shut again, which shows as if she is taking in air. However, all that goes into her lungs is the amniotic fluid itself. It is needed to prevent the lungs from collapsing since they are empty at this stage.

Essentially, an unborn baby’s lungs do not expand and contract. However, the fluid is expelled from the organs and fresh one replaces it. A baby’s lungs are only developed fully after 24 weeks of pregnancy are complete. Before this, the tiny sacs are not fully developed, which means the lungs are not capable of holding sufficient oxygen at this stage. However, breathing is a basic life skill and the baby must learn it before she is born. At about nine weeks, the breathing-like movements start inside the womb.

When she is born, the change in temperature usually triggers her first breath. The breathing surrogate The pregnant mother is called the breathing surrogate of the baby because she breathes on her behalf. The placenta is responsible to carry the blood to the baby. This blood is rich in not only oxygen but also the nutrients required for proper growth and development of the baby.

As pregnancy progresses, the fetus learns to inhale and exhale so that she is well prepared for normal breathing once she enters the real world after birth. There is a substance known as surfactant found in the amniotic fluid. It has been seen that these substances continue to increase as pregnancy carries on. It gets coated on the walls of the baby’s lungs and keeps them from collapsing.

The lungs are ready to take in air when the baby is born and the fluid gets drained away slowly after birth when the baby utters her first cry. The lungs have to take over the function of the placenta, which was to provide oxygen to the body and remove carbon dioxide. The baby takes her real first breath only after she is born. It is the nature’s job to teach breathing movements to the baby whether she is inside the womb or outside. However, once she enters the real world the doctors may intervene with physical stimulation to make her cry and start breathing.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb after the Water Breaks?

A breaking of the mother’s water bag is usually the first sign of labour. When this happens, the amniotic sac ruptures and the fluid comes rushing out. A doctor is usually able to predict when the baby will be out when the water breaks. However, the baby who probably has been inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluid by now does not really need this fluid to receive oxygen.

Oxygen is being passed on to her through her mother’s bloodstream and not through proper breathing movements as we are aware of. A baby’s lungs only develop fully when she finally enters the world and start breathing. With the passage of time, the lungs master their job and become fully developed.

Inside the mother’s womb, the baby’s lungs are filled with the amniotic fluid. She needs the fluid to keep the lungs from collapsing since there is no expansion and contraction. Mother Nature takes care of everything from the first breath to the drainage of this fluid from the lungs to make room for air.

The amniotic fluid inside the womb protects the baby from getting any infection. So when the water breaks, the doctors usually recommend an induced labour to deliver the baby as soon as possible. However, there might be some other factors to consider for which they could delay labour and delivery.

The first concern is whether the baby’s lungs have been developed or not. The mother’s body keeps producing more amniotic fluid throughout pregnancy, so even it if breaks early there might still be chances of normal pregnancy till labour.

When the water breaks earlier than 34 weeks the doctors advise to check the heart rate of baby regularly. If the mother continues to lose fluid, labour is induced to deliver the baby. The baby’s movements are also kept in check to determine if she is all right. If there are any signs of infection like fever or shivering, it is strongly advised to visit the hospital and have all the tests performed. Contractions normally follow within 24 hours of water breaking in a normal case.

However, if the pains do not start within 48 hours, it is best to opt for induced labour to save the life of the baby. Heart rate starts decreasing with the passage of time if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen through her mother’s bloodstream. Once this happens, there is no other option but to have the baby delivered. Babies do not actually breathe in their mother’s womb; instead, they receive the oxygen from their mother’s bloodstream through the umbilical cord.

The placenta carries the blood to the baby to provide her with nutrients as well as oxygen. So, babies do not need to perform inhaling and exhaling in order to receive oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from their system. Even though the water breaks as an early onset of labour, there is no threat to the baby’s life as the umbilical cord is still connected.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb Gills?

Since babies live in the amniotic fluid inside the womb, it makes sense to compare their breathing with that of fish that takes place through gills. However, the truth is, babies do not actually breathe like we do while they are still inside their mother’s womb. This is because the oxygen they need to grow and develop into a full-term baby is received through the umbilical cord, which is attached to the placenta.

The placenta carries the mother’s blood, which is transferred to the baby along with nutrients required for proper growth. A baby’s lungs inside her mother’s womb do not expand and contract like normal lungs do.

They are still in the process of developing. The baby therefore does not receive oxygen directly as the lungs are filled with fluid instead of air. But at the same time, her body does remove carbon dioxide from the system and this happens through the umbilical cord. The cord is essentially her lifeline inside the womb. If it is intact, there is no risk of drowning.

The placenta carries oxygen-rich to the baby throughout pregnancy. This organ also grows as pregnancy progresses because the baby would require more blood as she develops. More nutrients are also made available as their need arises for the development of various organs and systems. All this happens inside the body and the mother is not aware what changes are taking place inside her body to support the pregnancy and the growing baby. There is a substance in the amniotic fluid known as surfactant. It is coated on the walls of the baby’s lungs to keep them from collapsing. The quantity of this substance also increases with the passage of time.

Once the sacs that will have to carry oxygen once the baby is born are fully developed, the baby is ready to enter this world and take her first breath. The survival of a newly born baby largely depends on how much her lungs have been developed. A full-term healthy baby is capable of starting normal breathing as soon as she comes out of the womb.

While a baby does not need any inhaling and exhaling movement inside the womb, she does practice these breathing-like movements after about 9 weeks of pregnancy. This is to prepare them for the actual breathing once they would enter the real world. The baby’s first breath occurs right after birth when she cries for the first time. Amniotic fluid is slowly drained away and the lungs are filled with air.

To make this process start normally, a baby’s lungs must be fully developed. And this happens between 24 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born before 24 weeks have very less chances of survival. The reason behind this is their lungs that have not been developed fully. Once the umbilical cord is cut off, the baby has to start normal breathing on her own. If the breathing is slow, the blood will not receive enough oxygen required not just for normal growth but also for survival.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb without Drowning?

A baby inside the womb is not left unattended. She is attached to her mother’s placenta through the umbilical cord, which prevents her from drowning. Moreover, the baby doesn’t have to breathe normally using inhaling and exhaling movements like we do. She receives her share of oxygen and nutrients from the blood that reaches her through the cord. The same process expels carbon dioxide from her system and through the mother’s bloodstream is removed from the body.

So, there is no threat of drowning as long as the umbilical cord is intact. Why do babies cry after birth? A baby’s lungs are not fully developed inside the womb and they only develop fully when she starts breathing normally after birth.

It is usually advised to let the newly born babies cry for as long as they want because this practice would make them take in more and more air inside the lungs. Crying is seen as a sign of a healthy baby who is ready to face the challenges of this world and start normal breathing to stay alive and active. Inside the womb, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid in which she remains till the end of the pregnancy.

This fluid not only protects her from getting an infection but also fills inside her lungs to keep them from collapsing. Since the lungs are not ready yet to take in air, they need something to grow and remain intact. The amniotic fluid is composed of a substance known as surfactant. This substance gets coated on the walls of the baby’s lungs to make them strong. As pregnancy progresses, the quantity of this substance increases in the amniotic fluid, which is a sign that the lungs are growing normally. Breathing problems in preterm babies Because of the reason that lungs develop completely only after birth, which must take place after 38 weeks of pregnancy in normal circumstances, preterm babies often face breathing problems.

Babies born before 24 weeks are complete have little chances of survival. They are kept under observation and most of the time on artificial breathing to make sure lungs keep developing normally. But in many cases, it is quite difficult to let it happen on its own. It is therefore advisable to induce labour only after 24 weeks are complete even if there is a complication and there is a need to deliver the baby as soon as possible. In any case, a baby only takes her first normal breath when she is finally outside the womb and surrounded by air instead of the amniotic fluid.

In mothers whose water breaks early, it is considered a sign of untimely labour because it causes problems including shortage of oxygen and risk of developing infections. In such cases, induced labour is recommended if the contractions do not start on their own within 48 hours. The baby’s heartbeat is monitored regularly when this happens and the doctors wait only if the lungs have not developed completely.

How Do Babies Breathe in the Womb Mother?

The baby in the womb is surrounded by the amniotic fluid so how is it possible to breathe in such an environment? Well, a baby does not breathe in the womb like a normal person. She doesn’t inhale and exhale but receive the oxygen that is required for her proper growth and development through her mother’s blood that reaches her via the umbilical cord. The cord is attached to the placenta, which also grows with the baby as the pregnancy progresses. Nature has made the complicated process of a developing baby inside the womb a simple one for us. We do not have to worry how our baby will receive food, nutrition and oxygen to survive.

She happily snuggles in the womb without the fear of drowning because she is attached to her mother’s umbilical cord. She is safe inside and can hear voices from the outside world. She is also capable of blinking and making movements that show as if she is breathing. It has been seen that with the passage of time, the baby starts practicing breathing-like activity inside the womb. However, it only helps to get the amniotic fluid inside her lungs. This practice prepares her for normal breathing to inhale and exhale air when she would enter the real world.

The lungs of the fetus are composed of many sacs that would hold the oxygen later on but early in the lifecycle these sacs are not mature. To keep the lungs from collapsing, they are filled with the amniotic fluid. What are Alveoli? Alveoli is the name given to these tiny sacs that are present in the lungs to hold oxygen. They are fully developed after 24 weeks of pregnancy have passed.

Pre-term babies born before 24 weeks have low chances of survival because of this reason. Their lungs are unable to hold sufficient oxygen required to carry on with development. And that is why they are kept under observation for the first few months. Only a few babies born before 24 weeks of pregnancy survive.

What happens after birth?

After birth when the umbilical cord is cut off, the baby has to inhale air on her own to get oxygen in her lungs. The first cry is usually enough to make this happen. The fluid inside the lungs is slowly drained away and the lungs are filled with air. Most babies start crying on their own; while others need some sort of physical stimulation to be able to start breathing normally.

When inside the womb, a baby is in need of oxygen-rich blood for proper growth and development. The same blood is responsible for providing her with the essential nutrients. She receives this blood through the placenta, which is attached to the umbilical cord. This organ grows with time and is composed of numerous blood vessels.

So, the baby inside the womb doesn’t need to breathe; she only takes her first breath once outside the womb and in the real world surrounded by air.


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