Baby's 1st breath? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-12-2011, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have links to sources about what the medical field says about what prompts the baby to take it's 1st breath?


Is it air hitting the face?  The cord being cut?  The pressure of going through the birth canal?  These are all ideas I've heard and while they sort of make sense, they don't seem to tell the whole story...


Thanks in advance!

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#2 of 4 Old 03-12-2011, 04:07 PM
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I can tell you that it's not because of the cord being cut (if the cord isn't cut right away the baby still breaths) and not air on the face because baby doesn't breath until their body is out and head and body are usually born in separate pushes. 

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#3 of 4 Old 03-12-2011, 08:16 PM
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This is quite a good discussion of the first breath I think. If you scroll down a little it is under the heading "The First Breaths" in the second column


Basically it is not completely understood but is probably a combination of stimuli such as change of temperature and pressure combined with noise, light, touch etc which stimulates the brain stem to trigger the first breath.


It is unusual but some babies do take their first breath "on the perineum" after their head is born but before their body. 


Cutting the cord isn't a trigger of the first breath but the cessation of blood flow through the cord (whether due to clamping and cutting or natural vasoconstriction) does play a role in the change of circulation from the foetal pattern to the neonatal pattern.


Do you mind me asking why you ask "what the medical field say..."? Do you think they/we have it wrong? Is there another theory?

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#4 of 4 Old 03-12-2011, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link- I'll check it out.


I mostly was confused about what I've heard and I just wanted sources instead of just saying "well people say..."

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