Pregnancy: Lung volumes
Last updated: 03/06/2015
Decreased functional residual capacity is seen, typically falling from 1.7 to 1.35 litres, due to the compression of the diaphragm by the uterus. The compression also causes a decreased total lung capacity (TLC) by 5% and decreased expiratory reserve volume. Tidal volume increases with 30-40%, from 0.45 to 0.65 litres, and minute ventilation by 30-40% giving an increase in pulmonary ventilation. This is necessary to meet the increased oxygen requirement of the body, which reaches 50 mL/min, 20 mL of which goes to reproductive tissues. Overall, the net change in maximum breathing capacity is zero.
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