Things that make you scream shiok! #6 The First Breath of Air that a Baby Inhales

1st May 2011. #6 The First Breath of Air that a Baby Inhales

Have you ever held your breath and dived under water? How did you feel when your lung screamed, “Give me oxygen!”

I remembered during our water polo training sessions, we had to sprint 20 metres in one lap, and then in the next lap, hold our breath, dive and swim under water! We were being trained to expand our lungs and build our stamina.

I must add that on one hand, the feeling is that of sheer desperation, because if not done properly, you may panick and even black out. On the other hand, the feeling of oxygen rushing into your lungs, as you gulp the air down, is rather refreshing!

I guess this would be the same for a newborn baby. For the past 9 months in her mummy’s womb, she had been in the dark, noisy and yet soothing environment. Also, she  gets all of her oxygen and nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord–a process called fetal circulation.

In other words, she doesn’t breathe like you and I, through our nose and with air rushing into our lungs! At least not yet . . .

It’s only during birth that several processes occur simultaneously, and these processes compel her to breathe through her nose and mouth.  As she is being pushed through the birth canal, the blood vessels in the umbilical cord constrict, and oxygen flow is cut off from the placenta.

Her blood oxygen levels drop rapidly, and carbon dioxide level start to rise. As she gets pushed further out of the birth canal, her lungs are able to expand, and this effort causes her to draw in a breath! Yes, this is when you hear the cries of a new-born baby!

Crying Baby

At this time, her cries are signs that her lungs and pulmonary circuit are working and that the newborn is breathing properly.

How about you? Can you imagine what it was like when you drew in your first oxygen in this world? The feeling must be . . .

Simply Shiok!


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