Respiration and the Respiratory System

  • Herbert S. HarnedJr.


While the fetus is undergoing development of its own respiratory tract and the intricate neural, muscular, and circulatory structures necessary for initiating respiration at birth, it must entirely depend on its mother for the supply of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide, and for the maintenance of a metabolic environment compatible with its well-being. The dramatic substitution of its own respiratory system for that of the placenta is the primary event that occurs at birth, and the failure to perform this respiratory transition is the major cause of death or morbidity in the perinatal period. To visualize the primary significance of this change at birth, it is essential to understand the respiratory state of the fetus in utero. To aid in this understanding, the development of the placenta and its function as a respiratory organ will be emphasized in this section, as well as the development of the fetus’s own respiratory system.


Carotid Body Maternal Blood Peripheral Chemoreceptor Fetal Lamb Bohr Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert S. HarnedJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel HillUSA

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