Video: What the lungs of newborns look like when they take their first breaths

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

[U]sing a delicate sensor-belt wrapped around the chests of full-term newborns moments after their delivery, a team of researchers from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada have recorded the changes in lung volume that occur in a baby’s first minutes outside the womb.

Putting it simply, while the babies are snug inside the uterus, they’re busy exercising their lungs: Though crammed full of a liquid secreted by the lung’s lining, they still move in a semblance of breathing to give the brain and muscles plenty of practice.

This training regime drops immediately before birth. The big squeeze that comes with being pushed through the vaginal canal forces out some of the liquid, while also providing a generous dose of adrenaline that tells the lungs to soak up as much of that fluid as they can.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

That still leaves a fair bit of residue sloshing about, especially if delivery came via caesarean. Much of it is pushed back through the tissues with the first rush of air, with a soapy material called a surfactant helping the tiny air sacs shed their coating of fluid more easily and expand as wide as possible.

It’s little wonder that our first moments swanning about in the open air come with a gurgling cry.


Read the original post

Related article:  Have humans hit an evolutionary wall? Top scientists offer their views
Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How 'antifreeze' genes jumped from one species to another without sex

Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How ‘antifreeze’ genes jumped from one species to another without sex

It isn’t surprising... that herrings and smelts, two groups of fish that commonly roam the northernmost reaches of the Atlantic ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.