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December 1931


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology of the Harvard Medical School and the Infant's and Children's Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1931;42(6):1372-1383. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1931.01940190095006

The obstetrician has long recognized the problem of intra-uterine asphyxia as one of the most important with which he has to deal, and numerous causes of obstruction to the placental circulation have been noted. One of the most important consequences of such obstruction to the placental circulation with resultant intra-uterine asphyxia is the initiation of premature respiratory movements in utero. Since the fetus is surrounded by amniotic fluid, such respiratory movements must result in the aspiration of the contents of the amniotic sac. From the pathologic point of view, the presence and amount of aspirated amniotic sac contents are valuable aids in indicating the degree of intra-uterine asphyxia. From the clinical point of view, large amounts of vernix caseosa, cornified epithelial cells and amniotic fluid in the lungs of new-born infants, although not responsible for death in themselves, must certainly act as an additional embarrassment to an organism that is

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