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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

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capella Reply
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it's one kind of bacteria
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the smallest blood vessel is capillary
Richard Reply
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is the study of body structure
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mekfira
its a device that is put into the heart to make sure it beats properly
Michelle
SA node produces impulse is called pacemaker
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IDDRISU
which of the following is the epithelial tissue that lines the interior of blood vessels?
Firomsa Reply
endothelial tissues
Osaki
Endothelial tissue
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riad Reply
the long bone with two primary center's of ossification for shaft is ________
Aarambam
medulla
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Chisom
women are much likely to be pregnant at which stage?
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There are only six days during any cycle when a woman can get pregnant - the five days leading up to ovulation and the 24 hours after ovulation. This is because sperm can live for up to 5 days in a woman's body, and the ovum lives for only 12-24 hours.
THE
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Adil
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It's the men version of menopause!
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The testosterone levels decrease
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If our blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL, we may have symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak, or shaky, become confused or drowsy or even lose consciousness and possibly die.
Dhanya
symptoms of hypoglycemia include: shakiness, dizziness, headache, confusion, rapid pulse rate, sweating, Hunger, etc.
EMERIBE
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AJ
what is homeostasis
Nikky Reply
what is respiratory
Nikky
Respiratory is breathing
Atone
respiration is an exchange of gases (O2 & CO2) between the body and outside environment.
joey
homeostasis is internal balance.
Ali
Respiratory is system where the body takes in oxygen n releases carbondioxide
Hassan
respiratory system is a system where exhalation and inhalation takes place
Kom
1)inhalation: active diaphragm & external intercoastal muscles 2)exhalation: passive (allow muscle group to relax)
Shoukat
mantaince of body is called homeostasis
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Sakshi
Face ki he ethmoid bone
Rakesh
ethmoid bone. Irregularly shaped bone anterior to the solenoid. Forms the roof of the nasal cavity, upper nasal septum, and part of the medial orbit walls.
LaKecia
Its unpaired bone of skull that saprate the nasal cavity from the brain it's located at the roof of the nose between the two orbits it's bone is one of the bones that make up the orbit of eye.
SARFARAJ
sphenoid I meant
LaKecia
wrist joint ka dusra name kya he
Rakesh
till me fast my ans
Rakesh
Also included in the ethmoid bone is the crista galli and the cribriform plates. The plates help form the roof of the nasal cavity and the floor of the anterior cranial fossa.
LaKecia
the outer most covering of the brain ( the dura mater) attached to the crista galli and helps secure the brain in the cranial cavity
LaKecia
Sakshi Mishra. I hope that helped!
LaKecia
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Khubaib
synovial joint will have present in wrist
sk
what's the smallest blood vessal in the body?
sk
respiration is the process of inspiration an expiration
Bel
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sk
The protection of internal envirnment from the harm of external envirnmen is called as homeostasis.
Rana
Because stem cells have the unique ability to develop into any cell, stem cell therapy is being considered for treatment of kidney damage. What are your thoughts on stem cell treatment? Give at least three reasons for or against the treatment.
Samira 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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