How does the fetus feed and breathe in the belly?

How does the fetus feed and breathe in the belly?

In the mother's belly, the fetus can feed and breathe thanks to the placenta. This is how food and oxygen arrive

When it is in the mother's belly, the fetus can feed and breathe through the blood that circulates in the umbilical cord, which originates from the placenta. It is from this tube, which connects the child to the mother, that the child can receive the substances he needs to live, just as if he ate and breathed. During the nine months of pregnancy, the placenta provides the fetus with a continuous flow of food and oxygen and removes what the child's metabolism does not need.

How food gets to the fetus

The food can reach the fetus thanks to the chorionic villi, which constitute the embryonic part of the placenta. Rich in capillaries, they absorb nutrients from the mother's blood vessels. In this way, the child receives the nourishment he needs, assimilating it from the maternal organism. It is therefore very important that the pregnant woman maintains a healthy and balanced diet, because everything that will reach the baby will influence her growth and her health.
Although it is not possible to know precisely how long food arrives at the fetus, the child generally takes basic nutrients quickly. To hear their movements, some mothers eat something sweet. This is because, unlike the more complex macromolecules, glucose quickly reaches the child through the placenta and the umbilical cord.

How fetal breathing happens

Fetal respiration starts as early as week 12. As long as it is in the womb, the child is immersed in the amniotic fluid and cannot yet breathe autonomously through the lungs, which will become functional only at birth. Oxygen reaches the fetus through the placenta and the umbilical vein, leaving the maternal blood, in which it is more concentrated, and going into the fetal blood which, on the contrary, is very poor, yielding to the first carbon dioxide and waste. It has been shown that a limited supply of oxygen can slow the development of the child and that the placenta is sensitive to nicotine: this is why it is recommended to quit smoking during pregnancy. On the contrary, activities that allow the mother to breathe deeply, such as playing sports or climbing stairs, serve as healthy training for the child.

Category: Mom
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