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Nurse explains how babies breathe in utero and the internet is amazed

A new mom asked how babies practice breathing, and Nurse Jen delivered an answer that's blowing people's minds.

OB nurse; babies; new moms; newborns; practice breathing; Jen Hamilton

Nurse explains how babies breathe in utero.

There are so many questions out there that we don't realize we want to know the answers to until someone else asks. Once the question is in the vicinity of our ear holes, suddenly we're like, "Oh, yeah. How does that work?" That's pretty much how this TikTok video went for a lot of viewers, myself included.

I have had four (yes, four) children exit my body, and it never dawned on me to ask further than the initial question of how babies breathe in there. It's a question that most new moms either don't think to ask or ask only once and get a similar answer to the one I received, which is that they take in oxygen via their umbilical cord connected to the placenta, so they don't need to breathe in the traditional way we think of until after birth.

But when a new mom asked the people of the internet how her unborn baby was able to practice breathing without drowning, Jen Hamilton, an OB nurse, decided to answer in a video.


Hamilton starts off her response by guaranteeing she's about to blow the mom's "motherforking mind," and I can tell you from reading the comments, she's a promise keeper. Minds were blown. She explains that babies are covered in a thick waxy substance called vernix that protects their, "skin from falling off," while they hang out in amniotic fluid for months. But it's her explanation of how hiccups help babies practice breathing and how babies know it's time to breathe air that makes you appreciate how amazing the process is.

"Under your baby's lungs are a muscle called the diaphragm. Hiccups are a spasm of the diaphragm," the OB nurse explains. "Whenever we get hiccups it sucks air into our lungs really quickly, which is what makes that sound when air passes through our vocal cords." She goes on to explain that when babies get hiccups the spasm is expanding their lungs by filling with amniotic fluid, which is how babies practice breathing.

Hamilton continues her explanation of how babies know when to breathe on the outside while not needing to breathe on the inside.

"While your baby is inside of you, there are two vessels. These vessels bypass the lungs cause it's getting all of its oxygen from you," Hamilton says.

She isn't done leaving the internet with its collective mouth agape. Hamilton tells the mom about a nerve in the face of babies that helps them to know when to breathe. That is the most fascinating part, but you have to see her explain it because writing it out just wouldn't do it justice. Watch her brilliant explanation below.

@_jen_hamilton_

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