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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Create a timeline of the phases of respiratory development in the fetus
  • Propose reasons for fetal breathing movements
  • Explain how the lungs become inflated after birth

Development of the respiratory system begins early in the fetus. It is a complex process that includes many structures, most of which arise from the endoderm. Towards the end of development, the fetus can be observed making breathing movements. Until birth, however, the mother provides all of the oxygen to the fetus as well as removes all of the fetal carbon dioxide via the placenta.

Time line

The development of the respiratory system begins at about week 4 of gestation. By week 28, enough alveoli have matured that a baby born prematurely at this time can usually breathe on its own. The respiratory system, however, is not fully developed until early childhood, when a full complement of mature alveoli is present.

Weeks 4–7

Respiratory development in the embryo begins around week 4. Ectodermal tissue from the anterior head region invaginates posteriorly to form olfactory pits, which fuse with endodermal tissue of the developing pharynx. An olfactory pit    is one of a pair of structures that will enlarge to become the nasal cavity. At about this same time, the lung bud forms. The lung bud    is a dome-shaped structure composed of tissue that bulges from the foregut. The foregut    is endoderm just inferior to the pharyngeal pouches. The laryngotracheal bud is a structure that forms from the longitudinal extension of the lung bud as development progresses. The portion of this structure nearest the pharynx becomes the trachea, whereas the distal end becomes more bulbous, forming bronchial buds. A bronchial bud    is one of a pair of structures that will eventually become the bronchi and all other lower respiratory structures ( [link] ).

Development of the lower respiratory system

This flowchart shows the embryonic development of the respiratory system and correlates the gestational age to the appearance of new features.

Weeks 7–16

Bronchial buds continue to branch as development progresses until all of the segmental bronchi have been formed. Beginning around week 13, the lumens of the bronchi begin to expand in diameter. By week 16, respiratory bronchioles form. The fetus now has all major lung structures involved in the airway.

Weeks 16–24

Once the respiratory bronchioles form, further development includes extensive vascularization, or the development of the blood vessels, as well as the formation of alveolar ducts and alveolar precursors. At about week 19, the respiratory bronchioles have formed. In addition, cells lining the respiratory structures begin to differentiate to form type I and type II pneumocytes. Once type II cells have differentiated, they begin to secrete small amounts of pulmonary surfactant. Around week 20, fetal breathing movements may begin.

Weeks 24–term

Major growth and maturation of the respiratory system occurs from week 24 until term. More alveolar precursors develop, and larger amounts of pulmonary surfactant are produced. Surfactant levels are not generally adequate to create effective lung compliance until about the eighth month of pregnancy. The respiratory system continues to expand, and the surfaces that will form the respiratory membrane develop further. At this point, pulmonary capillaries have formed and continue to expand, creating a large surface area for gas exchange. The major milestone of respiratory development occurs at around week 28, when sufficient alveolar precursors have matured so that a baby born prematurely at this time can usually breathe on its own. However, alveoli continue to develop and mature into childhood. A full complement of functional alveoli does not appear until around 8 years of age.

Questions & Answers

what are the body plains
Sanjana Reply
median plane,transverse or horizontal plane and coronal or frontal plane
ASIMENU
How do I summarize the whole of muscular system
Mary Reply
briefly explain the similarities between transcription and DNA replication
Emmanuel Reply
transcription copies DNA into RNA while replication makes another copy of DNA
Goode
A general explanation: Replication occurs when a copy of DNA is made. Transcription is the first step in the process of protein synthesis. Messenger RNA is made using a portion of the DNA molecule as a template.
Lessa
please what group is this?
Winifred
hello guys
PRINCE
Relationship between essential amino acids and immune response
Eunice
transcription from DNA to rna involves the matching of the nucleotides represented by c,g, t and A, but where there is a t, it is replaced by a u- uracil
Patrick
what is the main function of the pcn?
DAVID Reply
career in the health professions, respond appropriately to signs of illness, help you in your roles as a parent, spouse
Coach Reply
student would have an appreciation of the heart anatomy to give understanding of anatomy while opening ideas of function and physiology
Coach
study of the parts of the body
Coach
macro anatomy, study of big structures of the body that can be viewed with the naked eye
Coach
that is called gross anatomy
Patrick
what is integumentry
Amiebo Reply
chemical level cell level tissue level organs level organ system organism
sam Reply
when you sitting close to a campfire your sense smell adapts the smell but when the trace of smoke is introduced into your environments it becomes unsual for you
sam
I need to know mechanism of body fluid
johnson
OK but I need to know where are you coming from
johnson
ask how
Amiebo
oh ft, help out with integumentary system now
Amiebo
Pls give me a brief description of vetebra
Deborah Reply
7 cervical (c1 atlas and c2 axis help the neck rotate) 12 thoracic 5 lumbar 1 sacral and 2 coccyx
Anna
breakfast at 7, lunch at 12, and dinner at 5. sacrum holds 5, coccyx holds 4
Patrick
really there's just one coccyx and sacrum
Patrick
atlas like the Greek God holds the weight of the world on top of him
Patrick
elasticity of the vagina
Mariam Reply
The vagina is an elastic muscular wall
antouman
*organ
antouman
It has I think squamous cuboidal or maybe columnar epithelium designed for secretion, expansion and friction.
Patrick
how can you remember the integumentary system
Naomi Reply
integumentary system is the skin the skin is protection all the body and contain deid cells
Drs
how can you remember the formation of bone?
Maame
the largest organ of the body
Toni
skin is largest organ
Zara
what is the best way to remember the cranial bones or any other bones ?
Savannah
skeletal system?
Savannah
look at the diagram structure and then remember it considering it your own body i memorise like that
Zara
hi guys! do you have to remember ALL the structures of the bones- I mean every single hole, depression or tuberosity?
Kristina
tuborisity
Zara
hey guz i hv to remember Immune antibodies and antigens how? i found it difficult
Zara
well, they are all grouped, aren't they? I mean they all come in series like H1, H2A, H2B and so on. In this case I learn the common part first and then that what's different
Kristina
nd what about IgG , IgE etc.
Zara
the majors
Toni
the thin skin does not have stratum lucidium I believe
Patrick
acronyms
Patrick
if u know the bones, the muscle has part of the name of the bone in it
Patrick
epidermis, I believe epi means on top. dermis in the middle and hypodermis, hypo meaning below. the hypodermis is actually considered not part of the skin or int system
Patrick
big sweet guys love candy = basale, spinosum, granulosum, lucidum ( only in thick skin), corneum
Anna
I love it ☝🏾
Savannah
thank you Zara !
Savannah
can anyone send diet plan for asthma patients
waseem
is
Drs
hey
Daud
jam how are you
Daud
Hey guys l am Matrin
Matrin
blood is a connective tissue which transport oxygen and other nutrients to body
Zara Reply
which type of protein is blood?
Zara
what is blood?
Masthan Reply
blood is a connective tissue which transport oxygen and nutrients to body
Zara
which type of protein is blood?
Zara
haemoglobin
Rashid
and what about its structure i think its Quartenary structure 🤔💭
Zara
yes it is
Rashid
it is globular
Rashid
a vascular structure compose of vessels.
Toni
what is the functions of lymph
moula Reply
what is plasma
Chukwu Reply
A plasma is a hot ionized gas consisting of approximately af a equal number of positive ly charged ionized and negative ly charged electron is called plasma.
Muhammad
what is an atomical position?
Madinatu
military position, body erect where by the body will be up straight..the cephalic and thoracic are straight
Mwita
functions of plasma membrane
Dinyando Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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