The Control of Breathing Movements in the Fetus

  • G. S. Dawes


In 1970 I and my colleagues in Oxford and Paris rediscovered fetal breathing (Dawes, 1984). For, as you will remember, maternal abdominal movements in man had been ascribed to fetal breathing by von Ahlfeld (1888), a view rejected contumaciously by his contemporaries. And Windle (1940) decided that the observations of Snyder and Rosenfeld (1937) on the breathing movements of fetal kittens and puppies in utero were likely to be experimental artefacts. Barcroft (1946) concluded that in the sheep breathing movements were not normally present antenatally, from 60 days gestation until term (147 days), when they suddenly began and became continuous, possibly as a result of cold exposure. So the misleading words, the “onset of breathing at birth” were perpetuated in the scientific literature and popular belief.


Breathing Movement Ventrolateral Medulla Fetal Sheep Fetal Lamb Prostaglandin Synthetase Inhibitor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. S. Dawes
    • 1
  1. 1.Charing Cross Sunely Research CentreLondonEngland

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