Page 6, Later Development, Develop. Physiol., Dr. D. Penney

Gas Exchange and Transport:

It has been suggested that the fetus in utero experiences conditions akin to those on Mt. Everest, at least with respect to oxygen availability, and has developed adaptations similar to those seen in animals resident at high altitude (Table 3.04).

For example, hemoglobin concentration and oxygen carrying capacity of the blood are high, and the oxygen dissociation curve (ODC) is shifted to the left, i.e. the oxygen affinity of fetal hemoglobin is higher than in the adult.

Secondly, the blood oxygen saturation, oxygen content, and PO2 are lower in the fetus than in the adult.

Finally, the fetal tissues have a greater anaerobic capability and fetuses are more tolerant of asphyxia than are adults.

To review oxygen dissociation curve

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