Hormonal Control of Fetal Breathing
After birth breathing movements are linked closely to metabolism, and there is small scope for hormonal control. Before birth, however, the situation is different. Fetal breathing movements are normally associated with episodes of low voltage electrocortical activity and rapid eye movements in sheep. In man they are also episodic in character, and are modulated by episodic sleep rhythms as identified by external ultrasound measurements. The natural history of fetal breathing suggests that there may be three circumstances in which hormones influence the control of breathing, directly or indirectly. These are during diurnal variation, shortly after food ingestion by the mother and immediately preceding parturition.
KeywordsCortisol Morphine Prostaglandin Progesterone Estradiol
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