Emily's New Sister - Just for Kids - Understanding Pregnancy

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How Does the Baby Eat and Breathe?

When the baby is in the mother's uterus, it can't eat or breathe on its own, so it needs some help. The baby has a little tube that goes to its middle called the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord goes to the placenta, which connects to the mother's uterus. Here's how it works. First, the food that the mother eats and air that she breathes get into her bloodstream as very tiny pieces called molecules. These molecules, or tiny pieces of food and air, travel through the mother's bloodstream to her placenta. From there, they go to the umbilical cord and into the baby's body. That's how the baby eats and breathes inside the uterus. After a baby is born, the umbilical cord goes away. Guess what's left? Your belly button.

How Does the Baby Eat and Breathe?

Review Date: 7/4/2019

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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