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Fetal “breathing”

Although the function of fetal breathing movements is not entirely clear, they can be observed starting at 20–21 weeks of development. Fetal breathing movements involve muscle contractions that cause the inhalation of amniotic fluid and exhalation of the same fluid, with pulmonary surfactant and mucus. Fetal breathing movements are not continuous and may include periods of frequent movements and periods of no movements. Maternal factors can influence the frequency of breathing movements. For example, high blood glucose levels, called hyperglycemia, can boost the number of breathing movements. Conversely, low blood glucose levels, called hypoglycemia, can reduce the number of fetal breathing movements. Tobacco use is also known to lower fetal breathing rates. Fetal breathing may help tone the muscles in preparation for breathing movements once the fetus is born. It may also help the alveoli to form and mature. Fetal breathing movements are considered a sign of robust health.

Birth

Prior to birth, the lungs are filled with amniotic fluid, mucus, and surfactant. As the fetus is squeezed through the birth canal, the fetal thoracic cavity is compressed, expelling much of this fluid. Some fluid remains, however, but is rapidly absorbed by the body shortly after birth. The first inhalation occurs within 10 seconds after birth and not only serves as the first inspiration, but also acts to inflate the lungs. Pulmonary surfactant is critical for inflation to occur, as it reduces the surface tension of the alveoli. Preterm birth around 26 weeks frequently results in severe respiratory distress, although with current medical advancements, some babies may survive. Prior to 26 weeks, sufficient pulmonary surfactant is not produced, and the surfaces for gas exchange have not formed adequately; therefore, survival is low.

Disorders of the…

Respiratory system: respiratory distress syndrome

Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) primarily occurs in infants born prematurely. Up to 50 percent of infants born between 26 and 28 weeks and fewer than 30 percent of infants born between 30 and 31 weeks develop RDS. RDS results from insufficient production of pulmonary surfactant, thereby preventing the lungs from properly inflating at birth. A small amount of pulmonary surfactant is produced beginning at around 20 weeks; however, this is not sufficient for inflation of the lungs. As a result, dyspnea occurs and gas exchange cannot be performed properly. Blood oxygen levels are low, whereas blood carbon dioxide levels and pH are high.

The primary cause of RDS is premature birth, which may be due to a variety of known or unknown causes. Other risk factors include gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery, second-born twins, and family history of RDS. The presence of RDS can lead to other serious disorders, such as septicemia (infection of the blood) or pulmonary hemorrhage. Therefore, it is important that RDS is immediately recognized and treated to prevent death and reduce the risk of developing other disorders.

Medical advances have resulted in an improved ability to treat RDS and support the infant until proper lung development can occur. At the time of delivery, treatment may include resuscitation and intubation if the infant does not breathe on his or her own. These infants would need to be placed on a ventilator to mechanically assist with the breathing process. If spontaneous breathing occurs, application of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be required. In addition, pulmonary surfactant is typically administered. Death due to RDS has been reduced by 50 percent due to the introduction of pulmonary surfactant therapy. Other therapies may include corticosteroids, supplemental oxygen, and assisted ventilation. Supportive therapies, such as temperature regulation, nutritional support, and antibiotics, may be administered to the premature infant as well.

Chapter review

The development of the respiratory system in the fetus begins at about 4 weeks and continues into childhood. Ectodermal tissue in the anterior portion of the head region invaginates posteriorly, forming olfactory pits, which ultimately fuse with endodermal tissue of the early pharynx. At about this same time, an protrusion of endodermal tissue extends anteriorly from the foregut, producing a lung bud, which continues to elongate until it forms the laryngotracheal bud. The proximal portion of this structure will mature into the trachea, whereas the bulbous end will branch to form two bronchial buds. These buds then branch repeatedly, so that at about week 16, all major airway structures are present. Development progresses after week 16 as respiratory bronchioles and alveolar ducts form, and extensive vascularization occurs. Alveolar type I cells also begin to take shape. Type II pulmonary cells develop and begin to produce small amounts of surfactant. As the fetus grows, the respiratory system continues to expand as more alveoli develop and more surfactant is produced. Beginning at about week 36 and lasting into childhood, alveolar precursors mature to become fully functional alveoli. At birth, compression of the thoracic cavity forces much of the fluid in the lungs to be expelled. The first inhalation inflates the lungs. Fetal breathing movements begin around week 20 or 21, and occur when contractions of the respiratory muscles cause the fetus to inhale and exhale amniotic fluid. These movements continue until birth and may help to tone the muscles in preparation for breathing after birth and are a sign of good health.

Questions & Answers

Functions of the thoracic cage
Fereh Reply
protect all the organs and tissues from any impact or injury
Javier
why sickle cell carrier people don't get malaria
Boakye Reply
What is the amniotic fluid
bollywood Reply
structure of heart and it's function (10 mark )
Priyanka Reply
What is the best book on physiology?
cesar Reply
describe varicocele
malulu
what do you mean by peritoneum
Siba Reply
It is thick covering surrounding the abdomen
Awais
r8
how to become good in Anatomy and physiology
malulu
hi
Milkah
hlo
Wani
What are is the last solution to abdomen pain in pregnant women
Umoru
no it is in kidney
Tantray
Kk
Umoru
structure of heart and it's function
Priyanka
Serous membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen
bollywood
it is four lobs structure and it is triangular in shaped. it 's function pumping the blood
ABDULLAH
explain root of lungs
ABDULLAH
Glomerular pressure -capsule pressure -colloid osmosis pressure
malulu Reply
how to describe mechanism of micturition
malulu
spleen is important?
AKASH Reply
helpful in destruction of rbc
It is imp in storing blood and destruction of microbes and harmful particles
Awais
ty sir
AKASH
K
Umoru
what are the sources of glucose in the body
malulu
describe mechanism of micturition
malulu
Pancreatic hormones with function
mami Reply
Insulin, which helps to regulate our blood sugar levels.
Bb
glucagon which is antagonistic to insulin increase the blood glucose level,. Somatostatin help to regulate the levels of both insulin and glucagon
Ashish
thnks for helping
nimco
thanks
Narendra
what is a lymph node.?
AKASH
lymph nodes are small kidney shaped organs of the lymphatic system.
Trishauna
there are several hundred lymph nodes found mostly throughout the thorax and abdomen of the body with the highest concentrations in the auxiliary (armpit) and inguinal groin regions.
Trishauna
what is life
Yar Reply
life is the existence of an individual human being animal or plant
Furmose
how I join this
Ahmed
meaning
Furmose
to day I am new person and I can't participate questions so to morow I shall participate question sopleas excuse me
Ahmed
I had a debate earlier about nutrition and it didn't get a clear answer on that,can one tell me what the definition of nutrition.?
kelvin
the nutrition is nourish person is feeling an nutrition
Ahmed
I think nutrition is the process of taking food and using it for growth, metabolism and repair.
Methila
life is full of happy and sorrow
Sanamacha
life is achievement
Nandini
life is the nothing but god gave us 1 body. and we all service k in this body. The things which we do for the Survivation for this body I felt that this is called as the life
AKASH
Yes God gave us life but not god who gave us the life. Hope u understood what i meant by God n not god who gave life..... ?
laku
What's the question?
Sherman Reply
once you lose pigmentation can you ever get it back
Shannon Reply
s
Nandini
females are lesser prone to acne
Ritika Reply
why please expain
Janvi
described the skin
Yayra Reply
skin is outer covery of human body and it is largest organ of human body. it do three fauntion protection regulation and sensation of human body that is men fauntion of human skin it has seven part.
ABDULLAH
how thick is the epidermis?
Sovilace
the integumentary system is the largest system of the body 16% of body weight and 1.5 to 2m² in area
Trishauna
function of the endocrine system
Hamo Reply
produces hormones that plays specific functions
has endocrine gland calld as ductless gland so as produces hormones

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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