If a baby is born in the death zone, will it breathe slower at low altitudes?

18 October 2009

Question

If a baby is born in the death zone, will it breathe slower at low altitudes?

Answer

Kat - I think you're asking for trouble here really.Ben - I think the oxygen demands of giving birth are probably a bit too much to be able to successfully do it when there's just not enough oxygen up in the death zone, so I'm not sure. And I think that it means that the baby in the process would get far less oxygen than it needs. I don't think this would work very well at all.Kat - So maybe, it wouldn't even make it out alive.Ben - It's quite possible.Kat - What a morbid question! Thank you very much.It's worth noting that foetal haemoglobin has a higher affinity to oxygen than the 'normal' haemoglobin we use after birth - maybe a baby would be okay in the death zone after all?If you know, get in touch!

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