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to wonder why fetuses are comfortable head down and how come when they get turned up the right way they don't explode?

(47 Posts)
TheYuleLogLady Tue 07-Dec-10 11:48:45

If a person out of the womb stood on their head for months they'd get a banging headache and be all weirdy. So how come foetuses don't?

and when they come out and their delighted parents turn them head up how come they don't explode?

I have asked midwives and doctors this and nobody can give me a reasonable answer.

SpringHeeledJack Tue 07-Dec-10 11:49:21

me too


SpringHeeledJack Tue 07-Dec-10 11:49:58

ps bet all the midwives and doctors hide when they see you coming grin

TheYuleLogLady Tue 07-Dec-10 11:50:07

i know about foetal circulation and pressure changes and windows closing and all that but i still can't workout the upside down bit.

TheYuleLogLady Tue 07-Dec-10 11:57:40

i am off to work shortly. i will track down a senior obstetrician type and interrogate it. i need to know.

Deliaskis Tue 07-Dec-10 11:58:46

YANBU. My bump (30 weeks) is currently sat on its bum and has been since forever. I know I'm supposed to want him/her to turn, but I kind of don't want it to turn too soon as I am sure it must be uncomfortable being upside down for weeks/months.

I am a bit of a nutter though. Am mainly worried about birth because I think it must be horrid for the baby - am naively unconcerned about what I will be going through!


JenaiMarrsTartanFoxCube Tue 07-Dec-10 12:02:48

Being in all that amniotic fluid must have something to do with it.

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Tue 07-Dec-10 12:05:29

I've always thought it must be sort of like being in space grin so it doesn't matter so much which way up you are.

Ignore me, I clearly know nothing about it.

And have too much time on my hands.

Deliaskis Tue 07-Dec-10 12:07:45

OK, so going with the floating in fluid theory. If you're under water, say deep sea diving, is it likely/possible that you lose sense of which way is up?

D (also with too much time on her hands - actually not true, plenty to do, but this is more appealing)

TheYuleLogLady Tue 07-Dec-10 12:09:45

would the blood not rush to the haed in space/deep sea?

TheMeow Tue 07-Dec-10 12:11:58

I thought it was to do with balance/ inner ear/ small centre of gravity stuff etc.

Like how kids can go on swings and roundabouts without being sick but adults can't.

Deliaskis Tue 07-Dec-10 12:20:23

Yule not in space, as there is no gravity, so nothing to make anything rush anywhere, not sure about in the sea though. There is gravity, as things eventually sink, but there is a lot of resistance for that gravity, which is why we float, and float slowly downwards. So not sure if blood would rush to head in water or not. Instinct says yes as gravity will still act on blood, the floatiness is about the water resistance which doesn't affect your blood flow, although pressure does, but that's separate.

Waffle waffle waffle waffle.....I am mainly talking out my a$$ here BTW.


TheYuleLogLady Tue 07-Dec-10 12:22:59

i feel a p?Hd thesis coming on. don't tell dh he'll leave me.

Snorbs Tue 07-Dec-10 12:37:33

Blood would still rush to your head if you were upside down in a diving suit under water. Gravity still works there, it's just that the water is balancing your weight.

In space it's a bit different but still a problem. I remember reading an article about the physiological effects of weightlessness and they do have problems with blood circulation. The body expects blood (and lymphatic fluid etc) to fall down to the feet fairly easily while needing more effort to pump it up to the brain. Take away gravity, and more fluids go to the head than needed while not enough get to the legs. That's why pictures of astronauts in space tend to look puffy in the face.

As for babies in utero, I dunno. Maybe that's why babies have such large heads compared to their bodies. Or maybe that's one of the reasons babies cry when they're born - it's not just going from warm darkness to the outside world, but they've got a splitting headache as well.

KaraStarbuckThrace Tue 07-Dec-10 12:39:09

Mine is lying on its tummy!!

The title made me laugh btw

BalloonSlayer Tue 07-Dec-10 12:51:28

Foetuses have the placenta to give their blood oxygen. Their cardiovascular system does not work in the same way as a, ooh, what shall I call them, a born person. A valve in the heart opens when a baby is born enabling their cardiovascular system to work normally and to cope with the outside world.

Presumably these differences in a foetus's circulation also help it to cope with lying in a head-down position. I have never read any suggestion that brain development is different in breech babies than in those with a cephalic presentation so it clearly makes not a jot of difference.

loonyrationalist Tue 07-Dec-10 13:07:48

When DD1 was a newborn turning her upside down was an almost failsafe way of stopping her crying - not sure when it stopped working but I just tried & it doesn't work now (dd1 now 4.3)

thumbplumpuddingwitch Tue 07-Dec-10 13:11:47

If you stay upside down long enough, the blood will stop rushing to your head and your circulation will even out properly. It's just getting through that first discomfort while the vessel pressures change to accommodate the situation.

I expect that babies are quite happy being upside down because their cardiovascular system is used to dealing with being that way up. When they're born, they probably have a blood rush to their feet - which aren't likely to hurt as much as the head.

thefurryone Tue 07-Dec-10 13:16:09

I am so glad you posted this as I have also been wondering about this but was too scared to bring it up grin

TheVeryLazyLadybird Tue 07-Dec-10 13:20:53

Wow, I'm enlightened and yet, slightly more perplexed at the same time! confused

Unrulysun Tue 07-Dec-10 13:37:42

I feel like this was an unknown unknown and I was ok with that but now it's a known unknown and is going to piss me off. At the weekend I will ask my clever phd friend and she will smile at my ignorance and explain carefully and simply and I will still not understand but my head will hurt more.

So YABU op and I reckon loonyrationalist's dd, who is being experimented on in the name of science, will second this.

TheMeow Tue 07-Dec-10 13:52:51

I once turned sil upside down when she was 3 and she started crying then gave me a dead leg....

....because I accidentally stood on her hair blush

ApricotWorms Tue 07-Dec-10 14:13:50

How old is your husband?

MadameDefarge Tue 07-Dec-10 14:29:16

I would imagine that until they are born and start breathing, the whole inner ear balance thing doesn't kick in

TheMeow Tue 07-Dec-10 15:12:13

He's 15 years older than SIL...she's 6 now, I'm not some cradle snatcher lol!

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