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Education

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_

#stitch with @Cori

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


@drjasonisfresh/TikTok, Representative Image from Canva

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