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Question #41148 posted on 12/03/2007 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do babies breathe in the womb? If not, how do they know to keep their mouths shut?

- Pirate Pants

A: Dear arrrr-ziiip,

Babies are suspended in amniotic fluid in the womb, and that fluid penetrates their little lungs as well. They don't use their lungs to take in oxygen until birth. They receive oxygen and nutrients and expel waste exclusively through the umbilical cord. Aren't placentas great?

A: Dear PP (tee hee),

Also, as is implied, babies do NOT keep their mouths closed in the womb. They are constantly sucking down the amniotic fluid. In fact, babies often have their first bowel movement before they are born - meaning that they suck that down, too, and it all has to be sucked out of them when they are born. Icky, huh?

The Cleaning Lady