Lung liquid production rates and volumes do not decrease before labor in healthy fetal sheep

Journal of Applied Physiology
A LinesR Harding


Previous studies have suggested that the volume and production rate of fetal lung liquid decrease late in gestation, before the onset of labor, in preparation for the clearance of lung liquid at birth. In contrast, our earlier studies have not shown a decrease in lung liquid volume near term, although these studies were not continued to the onset of labor. Our aim was to determine the changes in lung liquid volume and production rate in fetal sheep during the last 2 wk of gestation up to the onset of labor at term (approximately 147 days). In eight chronically catheterized fetal sheep, the volume and production rate of fetal lung liquid were measured at 130, 135, and 140 days of gestation and then on every 2nd day until the onset of labor. Labor was detected by monitoring uterine muscle activity and intrauterine pressure changes. On the day of labor onset, which occurred at 147 +/- 1 days of gestation, fetuses weighted 5.0 +/- 0.2 kg. The volume of fetal lung liquid was 40.4 +/- 2.7 ml/kg at 19 +/- 1 days before labor onset and had not significantly changed by 0.7 +/- 0.2 days (44.8 +/- 5.1 ml/kg) before labor. Similarly, lung liquid production rates at 19 +/- 1 days before labor (5.1 +/- 1.8 were not significantly...Continue Reading


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