• Question: what made you want to study babys hearts instead of adults?

    Asked by 997hetn44 to Lucy on 10 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Lucy Green

      Lucy Green answered on 10 Jun 2018:

      The unborn baby’s heart has a slightly different structure to the adult.

      Why?, well one big difference about an unborn baby (or fetus) is that it ‘breathes’ through the placentaI. It does not use its lungs. What I mean by this is that it gets its oxygen from the mum’s blood. So it doesn’t use its own lungs until it is born.
      So… its heart does not need to pump blood to its lungs to pick up oxygen. So the heart vessels and heart chambers are connected up differently.

      The unborn baby’s heart definitely needs to pump blood around its body – to get food to all its body bits! I study it because most of the cells that make up the heart are formed before you are born (during pregnancy). If something changes for the baby, like mum’s diet, this could change how the heart is put together and how it works. This means it might not work well for the baby and might also mean problems for health of the person in later life.