Baby’s First Breath

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have unlocked an amazing observation within baby’s anticipated and celebrated first breath. Breathing in the womb isn’t required, and only happens intermittently:

Baby’s first gasp at birth is a brain activation to support air breathing.

Baby transitions from randomly breathing to life-sustaining through the specific activation of a gene that starts regular breathing for the rest of baby’s life.

This gene makes a peptide neurotransmitter chain of amino acids that relays information between neurons just as baby emerges. When this same chain is interrupted in studies involving mice, sudden death can occur.

Researchers believe this new information may help experts better understand how Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may occur in infants, leading to the possibility of future treatments or therapies.

To learn more about SIDS, read our article Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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Healthy Mom&Baby has articles to help you through your pregnancy and keep you and your baby in good health, a good place to start is Go The Full 40 and then our Healthy Moms and Healthy Pregnancy and Healthy Baby Sections


The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) promotes the health of women and newborns.

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