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Prenatal and Postnatal Physiology of the Neonate

The prenatal period begins with the formation of the embryo Embryo The entity of a developing mammal, generally from the cleavage of a zygote to the end of embryonic differentiation of basic structures. For the human embryo, this represents the first two months of intrauterine development preceding the stages of the fetus. Fertilization and First Week and continues through the development of the fetus, terminating with birth. Neonatal physiology during prenatal life differs significantly from that during postnatal life. Before birth, nutrient, gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange, and elimination Elimination The initial damage and destruction of tumor cells by innate and adaptive immunity. Completion of the phase means no cancer growth. Cancer Immunotherapy of waste products occur via the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity. The fetus receives oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood via the umbilical vein, and deoxygenated blood is returned to the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity for removal of waste via the umbilical arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology. The 3 shunts that help redirect the fetal circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment are the ductus venosus Ductus venosus Development of the Heart, foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale, and ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). These shunts close after birth, leaving behind vestigial remnants. Postnatally, the fetal circulatory system and organ systems adapt to the extrauterine environment. Placental blood supply is cut off, causing the neonate Neonate An infant during the first 28 days after birth. Physical Examination of the Newborn to make adaptive changes.

Last updated: Jul 12, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

  • Prenatal period: from the formation of the embryo Embryo The entity of a developing mammal, generally from the cleavage of a zygote to the end of embryonic differentiation of basic structures. For the human embryo, this represents the first two months of intrauterine development preceding the stages of the fetus. Fertilization and First Week until birth
  • Postnatal period: after birth
  • Fetal period: from week 9 after fertilization Fertilization To undergo fertilization, the sperm enters the uterus, travels towards the ampulla of the fallopian tube, and encounters the oocyte. The zona pellucida (the outer layer of the oocyte) deteriorates along with the zygote, which travels towards the uterus and eventually forms a blastocyst, allowing for implantation to occur. Fertilization and First Week (i.e., 11-weeks gestation) until birth
  • Organ function and circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment in fetuses differ considerably from those in adults. 
    • The placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity provides the fetus with oxygen, nutrients from the mother, and removal of waste products. 
    • Fetal circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment differs from adult circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment, mainly because fetal lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy don’t take part in gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange.
Table: Overview of embryologic milestones during the prenatal period
Gestational age Gestational age The age of the conceptus, beginning from the time of fertilization. In clinical obstetrics, the gestational age is often estimated as the time from the last day of the last menstruation which is about 2 weeks before ovulation and fertilization. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care in weeks Characteristics
Weeks 3–4
  • Amniotic sac develops
  • Placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity develops
Weeks 5–8
  • Formation of the neural tube Neural tube A tube of ectodermal tissue in an embryo that will give rise to the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and the brain. Lumen within the neural tube is called neural canal which gives rise to the central canal of the spinal cord and the ventricles of the brain. Gastrulation and Neurulation
  • GI tract begins to develop.
Weeks 9–12
  • 1st breathing movements occur
  • Hematopoiesis Hematopoiesis The development and formation of various types of blood cells. Hematopoiesis can take place in the bone marrow (medullary) or outside the bone marrow (extramedullary hematopoiesis). Bone Marrow: Composition and Hematopoiesis shifts from liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy to spleen Spleen The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ in the body, located in the LUQ of the abdomen, superior to the left kidney and posterior to the stomach at the level of the 9th-11th ribs just below the diaphragm. The spleen is highly vascular and acts as an important blood filter, cleansing the blood of pathogens and damaged erythrocytes. Spleen: Anatomy
  • Head remains disproportionately large
  • Extremities are fully formed
  • All the organ systems are formed and most start functioning
Weeks 13–16
  • Fetal heartbeat is audible via Doppler Doppler Ultrasonography applying the doppler effect, with frequency-shifted ultrasound reflections produced by moving targets (usually red blood cells) in the bloodstream along the ultrasound axis in direct proportion to the velocity of movement of the targets, to determine both direction and velocity of blood flow. Ultrasound (Sonography).
  • Organ systems mature
  • Genitalia are visible on ultrasound.
  • Active ossification Ossification The process of bone formation. Histogenesis of bone including ossification. Bones: Development and Ossification occurs and fetal bones are visible on ultrasound.
Weeks 17–20
  • Musculoskeletal system develops and fetal movements become noticeable to the mother.
  • Body is covered with lanugo hair.
  • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions is covered with vernix caseosa, which protects the fetus.
Weeks 21–24
Weeks 25–28
  • Fat reserves develop.
  • Lung tissues are sufficiently mature to allow gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange.
  • Hematopoiesis Hematopoiesis The development and formation of various types of blood cells. Hematopoiesis can take place in the bone marrow (medullary) or outside the bone marrow (extramedullary hematopoiesis). Bone Marrow: Composition and Hematopoiesis starts in the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types marrow.
  • Hearing apparatus is fully functional.
Weeks 29–32
  • Brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification development becomes more rapid.
  • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy are still immature.
  • Other organ systems are well developed.
Weeks 33–36
  • Fetus grows and matures.
  • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy are close to mature.
  • Coordinated reflexes develop.
  • Fetus responds to light, sound, and touch.
Weeks 37–40
  • Fetus is sufficiently mature to easily tolerate extrauterine life at 37 weeks.
Embryological milestones during the prenatal period

Embryological milestones during the prenatal period

Image by Lecturio.

Cardiovascular Changes

Prenatal system

  • 3 key fetal structures of the fetal circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment that do not exist postnatally:
    • Ductus venosus Ductus venosus Development of the Heart: venous shunt connecting the umbilical vein to the inferior vena cava Inferior vena cava The venous trunk which receives blood from the lower extremities and from the pelvic and abdominal organs. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy bypassing the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy 
    • Ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA): shunt that connects the pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy with the ascending aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy, bypassing the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy
    • Foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale:
      • Opening between the 2 atria that allows flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure of oxygenated blood from the right to the left side of the heart, bypassing the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy
      • Covered by a flap of tissue, prevents “backflow” (i.e., blood cannot flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure from the left atrium to the right atrium)
  • Path of blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure through fetal circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment:
    • Oxygenated blood from the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity is carried to the fetus via the umbilical vein located in the umbilical cord Umbilical cord The flexible rope-like structure that connects a developing fetus to the placenta in mammals. The cord contains blood vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus. Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity:
    • Blood from the IVC IVC The venous trunk which receives blood from the lower extremities and from the pelvic and abdominal organs. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy reaches the right atrium.
    • Blood from the upper half of the body reaches the right atrium via the superior vena cava Superior vena cava The venous trunk which returns blood from the head, neck, upper extremities and chest. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy (SVC).
    • In utero, the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy do not perform gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange
  • Foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale shunts blood from high-pressure right atrium to low-pressure left atrium, bypassing the right ventricle and pulmonary circulation Pulmonary circulation The circulation of the blood through the lungs. Systemic and Special Circulations.
  • Some amount of blood goes to the right ventricle, then to the pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy:
    • The ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) shunts a majority of the blood from high-pressure pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy to low-pressure aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy, bypassing the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy.
    • A small amount of blood flows through the pulmonary vasculature and left side of the heart, where it is pumped out of the left ventricle into the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy
  • Aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy carries the blood to the rest of the body. 
  • Aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy splits into right and left common iliac arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology, which divide into external and internal iliac arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology.
  • The internal iliac artery gives rise to the umbilical artery. 
  • The umbilical artery brings the deoxygenated blood back to the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity.

Transition to postnatal system

  • At birth, 2 important transitions set off circulatory changes that lead to closure of the foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale:
    • The high-pressure system High-pressure system Arteries: Histology of the pulmonary circulation Pulmonary circulation The circulation of the blood through the lungs. Systemic and Special Circulations becomes a low-pressure system Low-pressure system Veins: Histology.
      • Mechanical compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma and reexpansion of the rib cage Rib cage The bony thoracic enclosure consisting of the vertebral column; the ribs; the sternum; and the costal cartilage. Chest Wall: Anatomy causes air to be drawn into the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy.
      • When the baby cries, air flows into the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy
      • Leads to an increase in partial pressure Partial pressure The pressure that would be exerted by one component of a mixture of gases if it were present alone in a container. Gas Exchange of oxygen in the pulmonary alveoli Pulmonary alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy, which leads to vasodilation Vasodilation The physiological widening of blood vessels by relaxing the underlying vascular smooth muscle. Pulmonary Hypertension Drugs throughout the entirety of the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy
      • Pressure in the right side of the heart decreases dramatically.
    • The low-pressure vascular bed of the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity is removed:
      • Clamping of the umbilical vein and arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology causes an increase in pressure.
      • Systemic vascular resistance Systemic vascular resistance Afterload is the resistance in the aorta that prevents blood from leaving the heart. Afterload represents the pressure the LV needs to overcome to eject blood into the aorta. Cardiac Mechanics increases
      • This resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing combined with increased blood return through the pulmonary vein Pulmonary Vein Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) to the left atrium leads to an increase in pressure in the left side of the heart.
  • These changes cause the blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure across the foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale to reverse direction:
    • The flap of tissue (i.e., the valve) over the foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale prevents flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure from left to right.
    • Over time the flap will fuse, leaving only a shallow depression visible in the wall between the atria.
  • Prostaglandin levels drop dramatically at birth:
    • The placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity, which is responsible for a large portion of prostaglandin production, is removed.
    • Pulmonary tissue activity, including metabolism of prostaglandins Prostaglandins A group of compounds derived from unsaturated 20-carbon fatty acids, primarily arachidonic acid, via the cyclooxygenase pathway. They are extremely potent mediators of a diverse group of physiological processes. Eicosanoids, greatly increases at birth. 
    • A decrease in the level of prostaglandins Prostaglandins A group of compounds derived from unsaturated 20-carbon fatty acids, primarily arachidonic acid, via the cyclooxygenase pathway. They are extremely potent mediators of a diverse group of physiological processes. Eicosanoids leads to closure of the ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).
  • When exposed to the external environment, Wharton jelly shrinks and the umbilical blood vessels collapse:
    • Umbilical arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology constrict and flatten
    • Blood clots in the umbilical vein and ductus venosus Ductus venosus Development of the Heart.
    • These vessels become progressively smaller, eventually becoming ligaments.
Table: The remnants of the fetal circulatory system after birth
Structure Remnants
Umbilical arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
  • Proximal parts form the superior vesical arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology.
  • Distal parts forms the medial umbilical ligaments.
Umbilical vein
  • Forms the ligamentum teres Ligamentum teres A cord-like remnant structure formed from the closed left fetal umbilical vein. It is located along the lower edge of the falciform ligament. Liver: Anatomy
Ductus venosus Ductus venosus Development of the Heart
Ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Usually functionally closes 10–12 hours after birth
  • Forms the ligamentum arteriosum
  • May persist as patent ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
Foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale
  • Forms the fossa ovalis
  • Foramen ovale Foramen ovale An opening in the wall between the right and the left upper chambers (heart atria) of a fetal heart. Oval foramen normally closes soon after birth; when it fails to close the condition is called patent oval foramen. Patent Foramen Ovale functionally closes immediately after birth.

Pulmonary Changes

Prenatal system

  • Lung development occurs in 5 stages: 
    • Embryonic: development of the trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy and primary bronchial buds Primary bronchial buds Development of the Respiratory System
    • Pseudoglandular: development of the bronchial tree Bronchial tree The collective term “bronchial tree” refers to the bronchi and all of their subsequent branches. The bronchi are the airways of the lower respiratory tract. At the level of the 3rd or 4th thoracic vertebra, the trachea bifurcates into the left and right main bronchi. Both of these bronchi continue to divide into secondary or lobar bronchi that bifurcate further and further. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy down to the level of the terminal bronchioles Bronchioles The small airways branching off the tertiary bronchi. Terminal bronchioles lead into several orders of respiratory bronchioles which in turn lead into alveolar ducts and then into pulmonary alveoli. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy
    • Canalicular: development of the respiratory bronchioles Bronchioles The small airways branching off the tertiary bronchi. Terminal bronchioles lead into several orders of respiratory bronchioles which in turn lead into alveolar ducts and then into pulmonary alveoli. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy and primitive alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
    • Saccular: maturation of the alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and production of surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
    • Alveolar: increase in number of alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), capillaries Capillaries Capillaries are the primary structures in the circulatory system that allow the exchange of gas, nutrients, and other materials between the blood and the extracellular fluid (ECF). Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels. Because a capillary diameter is so small, only 1 RBC may pass through at a time. Capillaries: Histology, and continued maturation
  • In utero, the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy are:
    • Unnecessary as breathing organs (they are dormant) 
    • A primary source of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid A clear, yellowish liquid that envelopes the fetus inside the sac of amnion. In the first trimester, it is likely a transudate of maternal or fetal plasma. In the second trimester, amniotic fluid derives primarily from fetal lung and kidney. Cells or substances in this fluid can be removed for prenatal diagnostic tests (amniocentesis). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity 
    • Filled with fluid and not inflated
    • Pulmonary vessels have high vascular resistance Vascular Resistance The force that opposes the flow of blood through a vascular bed. It is equal to the difference in blood pressure across the vascular bed divided by the cardiac output. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure.

Transition to postnatal system

  • Immediately following delivery:
    • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy expand for the 1st time with the baby’s 1st breath.
    • Amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid A clear, yellowish liquid that envelopes the fetus inside the sac of amnion. In the first trimester, it is likely a transudate of maternal or fetal plasma. In the second trimester, amniotic fluid derives primarily from fetal lung and kidney. Cells or substances in this fluid can be removed for prenatal diagnostic tests (amniocentesis). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity is pushed out of the air spaces and into the vasculature as the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy fill with air.
    • Surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) surface tension Surface tension The force acting on the surface of a liquid, tending to minimize the area of the surface. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in the alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and keeps air spaces open.
    • Adequate surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is often a primary factor in determining infant survival in preterm births.
  • Surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) production
    • Surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a complex, lipid-rich fluid that coats the inside of mature alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS in maintaining their shape, compliance Compliance Distensibility measure of a chamber such as the lungs (lung compliance) or bladder. Compliance is expressed as a change in volume per unit change in pressure. Veins: Histology, and gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange.
    • Surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) production begins around week 20 and slowly increases throughout the 2nd-half of pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care.
    • Initiation of labor Labor Labor is the normal physiologic process defined as uterine contractions resulting in dilatation and effacement of the cervix, which culminates in expulsion of the fetus and the products of conception. Normal and Abnormal Labor stimulates surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) production.
    • Stretching of the alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) by air also stimulates surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) production.
  • Respiratory rate Respiratory rate The number of times an organism breathes with the lungs (respiration) per unit time, usually per minute. Pulmonary Examination:
    • In utero, infants “breathe” erratically.
    • During labor Labor Labor is the normal physiologic process defined as uterine contractions resulting in dilatation and effacement of the cervix, which culminates in expulsion of the fetus and the products of conception. Normal and Abnormal Labor, contractions compress umbilical artery/vein decreasing CO2 clearance in the fetus, resulting in a mild acidosis Acidosis A pathologic condition of acid accumulation or depletion of base in the body. The two main types are respiratory acidosis and metabolic acidosis, due to metabolic acid build up. Respiratory Acidosis
    • Increases in CO2 stimulate the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification’s respiratory center, driving respiratory rates.
    • Hypoxemia Hypoxemia Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome in premature Premature Childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy (259 days from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, or 245 days after fertilization). Necrotizing Enterocolitis infants has been shown to suppress formation of regular Regular Insulin breathing patterns.

Metabolic Changes

Fetal metabolic rates are relatively low and must significantly increase to meet the metabolic needs of a growing neonate Neonate An infant during the first 28 days after birth. Physical Examination of the Newborn after birth.

  • During intrauterine life, glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance is obtained from maternal blood through the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity:
    • Catecholamine surges during birth stimulate glucagon Glucagon A 29-amino acid pancreatic peptide derived from proglucagon which is also the precursor of intestinal glucagon-like peptides. Glucagon is secreted by pancreatic alpha cells and plays an important role in regulation of blood glucose concentration, ketone metabolism, and several other biochemical and physiological processes. Gastrointestinal Secretions production and reduce insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin production. 
    • This surge increases blood glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance levels in the infant by stimulating gluconeogenesis Gluconeogenesis Gluconeogenesis is the process of making glucose from noncarbohydrate precursors. This metabolic pathway is more than just a reversal of glycolysis. Gluconeogenesis provides the body with glucose not obtained from food, such as during a fasting period. The production of glucose is critical for organs and cells that cannot use fat for fuel. Gluconeogenesis and release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology of glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance stores from the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy.
    • At birth, the fetus is cut off from the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity (and constant supply of maternal glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance) and begins absorbing glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance from the GI tract after an oral feeding.
  • Cortisol Cortisol Glucocorticoids production is low during fetal development:
    • Begins to increase at 30 weeks of gestation
    • Peaks just after delivery

Organ Function

Table: Prenatal and postnatal overview of organ systems
Organ system Before birth After birth
Respiratory system
  • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy are immature; no gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange takes place.
  • Little surfactant Surfactant Substances and drugs that lower the surface tension of the mucoid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is produced by type 2 Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy pneumocytes.
  • Lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy expand and gas exchange Gas exchange Human cells are primarily reliant on aerobic metabolism. The respiratory system is involved in pulmonary ventilation and external respiration, while the circulatory system is responsible for transport and internal respiration. Pulmonary ventilation (breathing) represents movement of air into and out of the lungs. External respiration, or gas exchange, is represented by the O2 and CO2 exchange between the lungs and the blood. Gas Exchange occurs.
  • ↑ O2 concentration in alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) vasodilation Vasodilation The physiological widening of blood vessels by relaxing the underlying vascular smooth muscle. Pulmonary Hypertension Drugs of pulmonary vasculature
  • Fluid absorbed from the alveoli Alveoli Small polyhedral outpouchings along the walls of the alveolar sacs, alveolar ducts and terminal bronchioles through the walls of which gas exchange between alveolar air and pulmonary capillary blood takes place. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) into vasculature
Liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy
  • Immature (not yet at full function)
  • Produces clotting factors.
  • Helps in bilirubin Bilirubin A bile pigment that is a degradation product of heme. Heme Metabolism excretion.
Blood and immune system Immune system The body’s defense mechanism against foreign organisms or substances and deviant native cells. It includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response and consists of a complex of interrelated cellular, molecular, and genetic components. Primary Lymphatic Organs
  • Hematopoiesis Hematopoiesis The development and formation of various types of blood cells. Hematopoiesis can take place in the bone marrow (medullary) or outside the bone marrow (extramedullary hematopoiesis). Bone Marrow: Composition and Hematopoiesis occurs in the yolk sac Yolk Sac The first of four extra-embryonic membranes to form during embryogenesis. In reptiles and birds, it arises from endoderm and mesoderm to incorporate the egg yolk into the digestive tract for nourishing the embryo. In placental mammals, its nutritional function is vestigial; however, it is the source of intestinal mucosa; blood cells; and germ cells. It is sometimes called the vitelline sac, which should not be confused with the vitelline membrane of the egg. Embryoblast and Trophoblast Development in early fetal life and is later carried on by the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy and spleen Spleen The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ in the body, located in the LUQ of the abdomen, superior to the left kidney and posterior to the stomach at the level of the 9th-11th ribs just below the diaphragm. The spleen is highly vascular and acts as an important blood filter, cleansing the blood of pathogens and damaged erythrocytes. Spleen: Anatomy.
  • Fetal Hb Hb The oxygen-carrying proteins of erythrocytes. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements. Gas Exchange is made up of 2 alpha subunits and 2 gamma subunits.
  • Fetal Hb Hb The oxygen-carrying proteins of erythrocytes. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements. Gas Exchange has a greater affinity toward O2 than adult Hb Hb The oxygen-carrying proteins of erythrocytes. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements. Gas Exchange.
  • No immunoglobulins Immunoglobulins Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions are produced
  • Maternal IgG IgG The major immunoglobulin isotype class in normal human serum. There are several isotype subclasses of igg, for example, igg1, igg2a, and igg2b. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis crosses the placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity and provides passive immunity.
  • Most hematopoiesis Hematopoiesis The development and formation of various types of blood cells. Hematopoiesis can take place in the bone marrow (medullary) or outside the bone marrow (extramedullary hematopoiesis). Bone Marrow: Composition and Hematopoiesis occurs in the bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types marrow.
  • Fetal Hb Hb The oxygen-carrying proteins of erythrocytes. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements. Gas Exchange shifts to the adult Hb Hb The oxygen-carrying proteins of erythrocytes. They are found in all vertebrates and some invertebrates. The number of globin subunits in the hemoglobin quaternary structure differs between species. Structures range from monomeric to a variety of multimeric arrangements. Gas Exchange form.
  • Immune system Immune system The body’s defense mechanism against foreign organisms or substances and deviant native cells. It includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response and consists of a complex of interrelated cellular, molecular, and genetic components. Primary Lymphatic Organs starts functioning.
GI tract
  • Meconium is produced and remains in the intestine until birth.
  • Meconium is passed after birth in infant’s 1st stool.
Urinary system
  • Fetus starts producing “urine” from 9–12 weeks of gestation
  • Placenta Placenta A highly vascularized mammalian fetal-maternal organ and major site of transport of oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste products. It includes a fetal portion (chorionic villi) derived from trophoblasts and a maternal portion (decidua) derived from the uterine endometrium. The placenta produces an array of steroid, protein and peptide hormones (placental hormones). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity is responsible for water-soluble waste excretion.
  • Urine concentration occurs after birth.
  • Kidneys Kidneys The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located retroperitoneally against the posterior wall of the abdomen on either side of the spine. As part of the urinary tract, the kidneys are responsible for blood filtration and excretion of water-soluble waste in the urine. Kidneys: Anatomy maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
Thermoregulation Thermoregulation Body temperature can be divided into external temperature, which involves the skin, and core temperature, which involves the CNS and viscera. While external temperature can be variable, the core temperature is maintained within a narrow range of 36.5-37.5ºC (97.7-99.5ºF). Body Temperature Regulation system
  • Fetus produces twice the amount of heat Heat Inflammation as does an adult.
  • Heat Heat Inflammation is removed via fetal skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid A clear, yellowish liquid that envelopes the fetus inside the sac of amnion. In the first trimester, it is likely a transudate of maternal or fetal plasma. In the second trimester, amniotic fluid derives primarily from fetal lung and kidney. Cells or substances in this fluid can be removed for prenatal diagnostic tests (amniocentesis). Placenta, Umbilical Cord, and Amniotic Cavity, and the uterine wall.

References

  1. Morton, S. U., Brodsky, D. (2016). Fetal physiology and the transition to extrauterine life. Clinics in Perinatology 43(3):395–407. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clp.2016.04.001
  2. Fetal development: month-by-month stages of pregnancy. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7247-fetal-development-stages-of-growth
  3. Curran, M.A. Fetal development. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://perinatology.com/Reference/Fetal%20development.htm
  4. Fetal circulation. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/congenital-heart-defects/symptoms–diagnosis-of-congenital-heart-defects/fetal-circulation
  5. Prenatal development—development of organs. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/science/prenatal-development/Development-of-organs

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