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Notes on Fetal Circulation

Foramen ovale:
Connects the left and right atria, allowing not allowing blood to go to the lungs through the pulmonary valve.

Ductus arteriosus:
This is a connection between the arch of aorta and pulmonary trunk, not allowing blood to go to the lungs.

How many umbilical vessels are in the umbilical cord? What type of vessel carries blood with a higher oxygen concentration?
The umbilical cord contains one umbilical vein and two umbilical arteries. The umbilical vein carries the most oxygenated blood.

Describe the normal flow of blood in the fetus. Where does the fetus get its oxygen?
Oxygenated blood flows from the placenta to the umbilical vein to the ductus venosus to the IVC to the right atrium. Oxygen is acquired via gas exchange in the placenta.

How is the pulmonary circulation different in the fetus compared with an adult?
The lungs are nonfunctioning in the fetus, thus, all the oxygen and nutrients come from the placenta. Lungs are bypassed through the foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus.

Describe the changes that occur to the circulation when the baby begins to breathe air and the umbilical cord is cut:
The foramen ovale, ductus arteriosus and ductus venosus close and the lungs are cleared off amniotic fluid.